By Sami Zaptia.
London, 23 October 2019:
The internationally recognized government based in Tripoli and led by Faiez Serraj yesterday condemned in the strongest of terms the bombing/airstrikes yesterday of the Salah Al-Deen residential area of Tripoli. It reported that the attack led to the death of children.
The Field Medical Service of the Tripoli Ministry of Health, in turn, reported the death of two children, both under the age of ten, and a serious head injury to their three-year old brother. It noted that this was the third such attack on civilian areas which had led to civilian deaths and injuries.
The Field Medical Services Centre also ‘‘condemned in the strongest terms these barbaric attacks affecting civilians’’ and said that it too called on the international community and humanitarian organizations to take responsibility for these actions.
The Serraj government attributed the attack to what it refers to as the ‘‘militias of the war criminal (Khalifa) Hafter’’. As well as leading to deaths, the attacks had terrified residents, it added.
It also confirmed that the now closed Mitiga airport was also hit yesterday, which it said came only a week after a similar ‘‘crime’’ committed in the Furnaj area of Tripoli in which three died.
The condemnation statement said that these attacks are continuous and premeditated, aimed at terrorising civilians in a clear violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws. The bombing of residential civilian areas and sites by drones and long-range cannon comes after the failure of the aggressor militias (Hafter’s forces) to achieve any progress on the ground and after being forced backwards until they are completely defeated.
The Serraj government said that Hafter’s militias have been encouraged in committing these crimes as a result of the absence of a decisive and deterrent stand by the international community and that it holds UNSMIL responsible, who it calls upon to take serious and effective action to protect civilians.
It added that soothing statements for the victims by the international community were insufficient – the victims that Hafter and his militias do not value. It reassured that everyday that passes without the international community taking deterrent action will lead to increased civilian deaths.
The Serraj government said that it was documenting these crimes and that it will coordinate with international rights and humanitarian organizations to take legal action against the accused. Meanwhile, it said that it will respond strongly on the battlefield – while respecting the rules of war and the Geneva Convention.