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Tripoli forces push opponents back slightly south of Libyan capital

Tripoli forces push opponents back slightly south of Libyan capital

At least 205 people have been killed and more than 900 wounded in the battle for control of the Libyan capital Tripoli, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

"In the past week, WHO Libya specialized emergency medical teams in frontline hospitals handled 89 major and 63 surgeries".

Fighting erupted on April 5, pitting the self-styled Libyan National Army, led by commander Khalifa Hifter and aligned with a rival government in the east, against militias affiliated with Tripoli's United Nations -supported government.

As a result of Haftar's offensive, in April the USA military withdrew a small number of troops from Libya that had been performing diplomatic and counter-terrorism missions against ISIS, citing "increased unrest in Libya".

Residents of the city said they could hear sustained rocket and artillery fire in several districts of Tripoli on Saturday, after several days of stalemate on the ground.

Residents counted several missile strikes, one of which apparently hit a military camp of forces loyal to Tripoli in the Sabaa district in the south of the capital, scene of the heaviest fighting between the rival forces.

A White House statement on Friday also said "the two discussed a shared vision for Libya's transition to a stable, democratic political system".

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Observers saw Trump's words of praise for the strongman as evidence of U.S. support that explains Haftar's determination to pursue his offensive to seize Tripoli.

Gen Haftar, a former army officer, was appointed chief of the LNA in 2015 under an earlier, internationally recognised government based in Tobruk.

On Thursday, the USA and Russian Federation opposed a UN ceasefire bid that was backed by the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

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Haftar launched an offensive on April 4 against Tripoli, where the UN-recognised GNA is based.

In the following days, the council was unable, however, to issue a more formal statement, diplomats said, as Russian Federation objected to a reference to the LNA, while the United States said it could not agree to a text that did not mention Haftar's forces. He has led previous campaigns against Islamic militants and other rivals in eastern Libya, and has received support from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia and France.