By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 13 August 2014:
Despite national and international efforts and calls for a ceasefire in Tripoli’s militia war, overnight shelling . . .[restrict]continued in Tripoli concentrated on the western region of the city.
There have been widespread reports of all types of projectiles landing in the areas of Ghoat Al-Shaal, the Tobacco factory, Streets No 9 and 10, Hay Islami, Drebi, Siyahiya, Sirraj, Girgarish, and Hay Akwakh.
This has led to many residents fleeing their homes, some by foot, in the evening and in the middle of the night.
The heavy shelling could be heard by Libya Herald throughout the night and early morning – made louder by the night’s silence as a result of Tripoli-wide power cuts and the lack of vehicles on the roads.
The Health and Safety Authority reported unspecified deaths as it dispatched fire engines to the area to deal with fires- including the death of one of its firemen caused by what it referred to as “a rocket” as he attempted to enter the area.
Unconfirmed media reports by residents in the areas, including a statement issued by the Youth of Ghoat Al-Shaal, Drebi and Hay Islami, claim that the shells were fired by the pro-Islamist Fursan militia from Janzur and from Ghanaiwa Kikly’s militia based in the rubbish depot in Busleem, supported by Misratan militias. Libya Herald has no means of verifying these claims.
The Youth statement calls on members of the House of Representatives (HoR) and the government to take action to stop the shelling of their residential areas and gives them a deadline by lunchtime today to take action or they would “take up arms as part of their right of self defence”, the statement said.
As has been the case throughout and since the start of the fighting in Tripoli, there are no detailed official reports whatsoever from the government about the fighting or where it is taking place or by whom. Furthermore, Libya Herald is unable to verify where the shelling is indeed emanating from or by whom.
Eye witnesses phoned in to a live talk show in the small hours of this morning reporting seeing families fleeing the shelling at night, some in their night clothes and that some buildings and cars suffered much damage.
There are unconfirmed media reports of three dead and several injured.
Some fleeing families were offered shelter at the Scouts Hall near Tripoli International Fair and others at the Regatta tourist village in Siyahiya last night and early this morning .
A journalist friend of this paper told this writer, anonymously, of how he had to dash into the area to rescue his children from their sleepover at their grandmother’s.
“I returned my children at dawn to my home from Ghoat Al-Shaal after a bloody night there which they had spent away at their grandmother’s”.
He confirmed that at dawn, “residents were leaving their homes heading west in case the shelling resumed. Others remained at home gathering their wounds and inspecting the results of the barbaric shelling”.
Meanwhile, a medium sized demonstration took place yesterday in front of the Al-Quds mosque against the fighting in Tripoli. It called for an end to the fighting in the capital and for the withdrawal of all armed militias. It also urged action by the government and the HoR to put an end to the violence in the capital.
On the other hand, the EU has quickly condemned the continued violence in a statement released today.
“The EU is deeply troubled by reports of escalating violence in Tripoli and Benghazi. Indiscriminate attacks that harm civilians and their property are unacceptable and must stop. ICC has reminded it will prosecute those who commit crimes under its jurisdiction in Libya”.
“We urge all parties”, the statement said “to actively cooperate with UNSMIL, in particular with the team sent to Tripoli to facilitate an immediate cease-fire and ask all sides to respond positively and without delay”.
“We encourage the Council of Representatives to carry out its tasks in a spirit of inclusiveness, moderation and in the interest of the country”, the EU statement concluded. [/restrict]