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10.06.2020 Libya

Seven killed by landmines in Libya capital: health ministry

By AFP
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Landmine blasts killed at least seven people including civilians on the edges of Libya's capital Wednesday, wounding 10 others, the unity government's health ministry said.

"Seven people were killed in landmine explosions in several locations in the south of Tripoli, and 10 others were wounded," ministry spokesman Amin al-Hashemi told AFP.

Those killed were four civilians and three mine-clearing experts.

Hashemi said the devices had gone off in the Ain Zara and Wadi Rabi districts on the southern edges of the capital, which had been controlled by forces backing eastern military strongman Khalifa Haftar until May.

The explosions came days after the Government of National Accord declared itself back in full control of the capital and its suburbs after fending off Haftar's year-long offensive to seize the capital.

Human Rights Watch earlier this month accused pro-Haftar forces of laying Russian and Soviet-era landmines in Tripoli's southern districts.

They "appear to have laid mines as they withdrew from southern districts of the city" in May, the New York-based rights group said.

Days earlier, the UN's Libya mission voiced concern over reports that "residents of the Ain Zara and Salahuddin areas of Tripoli have been killed or wounded by Improvised Explosive Devices placed in/near their homes".

Pro-Haftar forces, backed by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, have been battling since April last year to seize Tripoli from the UN-recognised GNA.

The fighting has left hundreds dead and forced 200,000 to flee their homes.

Haftar's rapid advance on Tripoli stalled to a bloody stalemate on the edges of the capital, but in recent weeks Turkish-backed GNA forces have fought back to regain control of the whole of the country's northwest.

It was the latest round of fighting in years of violence following the 2011 toppling and killing of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a Western-backed uprising.

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