Thursday, March 4We Break the News

Coronavirus – Libya: UNSMIL condemns indiscriminate attacks on civilian populated neighborhoods in Tripoli, causing many civilian casualties

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UNSMIL strongly condemns increased attacks on civilian populated areas in Tripoli, including the appalling shelling yesterday on Tripoli’s Zawiat al-Dahmani neighbourhood, near the Turkish embassy and the Italian ambassador’s residence, which reportedly killed at least two civilians and injured three others. UNSMIL will continue to document violations to be shared, where relevant, with the  Panel of Experts and  the International Criminal Court.

UNSMIL is deeply alarmed by the intensification of indiscriminate attacks at a moment when Libyans deserve to peacefully observe the holy month of Ramadan and a time when they are battling the COVID-19 pandemic. These despicable actions are a direct challenge to calls by some Libyan leaders for an end to the protracted fighting and for the resumption of the political dialogue.

Since 1 May, increasing indiscriminate attacks, mostly attributable to LNA-affiliated forces, including on Abu Salim, Tajoura, al-Hadba al-Bari, Zanata and Zawit al-Dahmani have caused many civilians casualties, damage to homes and other civilian property. Between 1 and 8 May, at least 15 civilians were reported killed and 50 civilians injured.

On 6 May, houses were shelled in Abu Salim neighborhood of Tripoli with at least one person reportedly killed and 27 individuals injured, including four children and five women.  On the same day, rockets hit several homes in Tajoura and resulted in the reported killing of three individuals and injuring 10 others, including three children. On 5 May, shelling of houses in al-Hadba neighborhood of Tripoli killed two civilians and injured three others, including a child.

Once again, these attacks display a blatant disregard for international humanitarian law and human rights law and may amount to war crimes. All parties to the conflict must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law including complying with the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attacks to prevent civilian casualties. UNSMIL reiterates that those guilty of crimes under international law will be held to account.

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