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Battle for Tripoli: Clashes continue across Libya's capital

Battle for Tripoli: Clashes continue across Libya's capital

Aymen Abdulhamid was hit by a bullet in crossfire, said Hussein Hassan, the World Health Organisation's emergency team leader in the Libyan capital.

He condemned a Monday airstrike on the city's only functioning airport.

In a statement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged "the immediate halt of all military operations in order to de-escalate the situation and prevent an all-out conflict".

Clashes between forces loyal to Libya's Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and those loyal to Khalifa Haftar, who commands forces loyal to a rival government based in the country's east, continued Monday, according to local sources.

Far south of Tripoli, the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for attacking the town of Fuqaha, where residents said three people were killed and another kidnapped.

Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which controls swathes of the country's east, said it had seized a barracks in the Aziziya area around 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Tripoli after "ferocious clashes".

Mr Haftar's LNA, which backs the eastern administration in Benghazi, took the oil-rich south of Libya earlier this year before advancing fast through largely unpopulated desert regions toward Tripoli.

The UN said the clashes have displaced some 3,400 people.

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Libya has been riven by divisions since the NATO-backed overthrow of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, with various armed groups and two parallel governments vying for territory and oil wealth.

Russian Federation on April 8 called for calm on all sides.

Haftar, whose key allies are the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, is a former Qaddafi military chief who has emerged as a major player in Libya's political struggle.

Forces with the Tripoli government have announced an operation to defence the capital called "Volcano of Anger".

"There are fears that the civilian death toll will rise rapidly as the fighting intensifies and spreads into more densely populated parts of the city", said Amnesty International's regional deputy, Magdalena Mughrabi. "I don't expect the fight to continue much longer", he said. A cease-fire is imperative to ensure that civilians trapped in fighting around the Libyan capital can escape to safer areas and that the wounded can be evacuated, he said.

The violence has cast doubt on the United Nations plan to hold a conference from 14 to 16 April to arrange for the elections, as a way out of the ongoing chaos since Gaddafi's ousting under Western support eight years ago.

The UN Security Council will hold urgent closed-door consultations on Wednesday on the crisis in Libya, where fighting has derailed UN-led efforts to prepare for elections.

The UN mission in Libya said on Twitter that Salame met Monday with unity government head Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli to discuss how to "assist at this critical and hard juncture".