By Sami Zaptia.
London, 5 January 2020:
The United Nations Mission of support in Libya (UNSMIL) condemned in the strongest terms the bombing targeting the Hadba military college South of the capital Tripoli, which resulted in dozens of casualties between dead and wounded.
The internationally recognized government in Tripoli also condemned the attack and declared three days of official mourning. It reported 29 dead and 23 injured. Other Tripoli entities reported both numbers at over 30. Some body parts are reportedly still being collected and hence the figures could rise.
UNSMIL emphasized that the growing escalation of military actions in such a dangerous manner further complicated the situation in Libya and threatened the chances of a return to the political process. It reminded that the continued increase in random bombing on civilians and civilian service facilities such as hospitals, schools and others can amount to war crimes. Adding that war criminals will not get away with punishment for long or short term.
In its condemnation statement, the internationally recognized Presidency Council, led by Faiez Serraj, blamed the attack on ‘‘foreign aircraft supporting the war criminal (Khalifa) Hafter’’.
It asked rhetorically: where was the international community ten months into the Tripoli war launched by Hafter, adding that the war had resulted in tens of deaths and thousands of internally displaced. It pledged to respond strongly on the field of battle.
It called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss Hafter’s ”war crimes” at the military academy.
There were scores of people gathered at the blood hospital queuing to donate blood and there were demonstrations condemning the attack in a number of cities, including Tripoli, Misrata and Zawia.
Mitiga airport shut down again yesterday after reopening in the morning. All flights have been redirected to and from Misrata airport again after renewed strikes in its vicinity.
It will be recalled that at a Benghazi session held yesterday, the internationally recognized House of Representatives (HoR), usually based in Tobruk, made a series of decisions following the approval by Turkey’s parliament of a bill allowing the Recep Erdogan government to send troops to Libya.
These included: severing relations with Turkey, annulling the recent Libya -Turkish security and military agreement, withdrawing recognition of the (2015 Skhirat) Libyan Political Agreement and its resultant and internationally recognized Tripoli-based government (GNA) led by Faiez Serraj, calling on the international community to likewise withdraw their recognition of the GNA, referring the effective head of the internationally recognized government, Faiez Serraj, his Foreign Minister, Mohamed Siala, his Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha and ‘‘all those who contributed to bringing colonialism to our country’’ to justice on charges of high treason, and authorizing the General Command of the (Khalifa Hafter-led) Armed Forces to disrupt airports, ports and land ports under the control of (Tripoli) militias.
Khalifa Hafter, in a speech yesterday, also called for a holly jihad war against the Turkish forces expected to arrive in Libya in defence of the internationally recognized government,
HoR cancels LPA, withdraws recognition of Serraj government, refers Serraj and Ministers to justice for treason, cuts relations with Turkey and annuls Libya-Turkish agreement
Tripoli government denies presence of Syrian fighters ahead of 8 January Turkish-Russian summit
UNSMIL condemns repeated airstrikes on civilian targets in western Libya
Turkey eases visa requirements for Libyans, seen as part of recent wider cooperation
UNSC expresses concern on Libyan escalation, arms embargo, mercenary involvement and external interference