Scores dead in IS attack on Haftar forces in south Libya

Scores dead in IS attack on Haftar forces in south Libya
Libyan officials said the Islamic State militant group launched an attack on forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar on Saturday.
2 min read
04 May, 2019
IS claimed the attack in Libya [Getty]
At least nine people were killed on Saturday in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group targeting forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar in southern Libya, officials said.

IS fighters, "backed by criminal groups and mercenaries", launched a dawn assault on a military training camp in the southern city of Sebha, which is controlled by Haftar's forces, the city's mayor Hamed al-Khayali told AFP.

"The attack left nine dead ... some of whom had their throats slit and others who were shot dead," he said.

A spokesman for the Sebha Medical Centre confirmed it had received nine dead bodies.

IS claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement distributed through social media, saying it had targeted "Haftar's heretical militia" and freed prisoners held on the base.

Sebha is controlled by Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, which opposes the UN-recognised Government of National Accord based in Tripoli.

A power struggle between the GNA and a parallel administration supported by Haftar in the east has left the country's vast desert south a lawless no-man's land.

The rugged territory, which shares borders with Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan, has become a haven for jihadists and other armed groups.

The LNA in mid-January announced the start of an offensive intended to "purge the south of terrorists and criminal groups", including rebels from Chad.

On April 4 it began another assault aimed at capturing the capital, leading to fierce fighting on the city's doorstep.

The battle for Libya's capital has seen almost 400 people killed, with fighting forcing more than 50,000 people to flee their homes, the UN's World Health Organisation said on Friday.

Intense fighting, artillery bombardments and airstrikes has led to the deaths of at least 392 people with 1,936 peoople injured, the WHO said. 

It added that the fighting in heavily built-up areas have resulted in more than 50,000 people to flee their home, directly related to "the intensifying armed conflict in Tripoli", according to another UN body, the Organisation for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 

"We are concerned about the alarming figures of displacement," OCHA said on Friday on Twitter. 

The UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are thought to be supporting Haftar's offensive on Tripoli.

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