May 31, 2020 / 6:41 PM / 2 months ago

Civilians killed as park hit by shelling in Libyan capital

CAIRO (Reuters) - A grassy area used as a park in the Libyan capital Tripoli was hit by shelling on Sunday that left five people dead and 12 others wounded, an official and a medic said.

The incident highlighted a continuing risk to civilians despite a relative lull in fighting around Tripoli since eastern-based forces staged partial withdrawals earlier this month.

The U.N. mission to Libya has condemned “indiscriminate attacks” on civilian areas of Tripoli which it says are mostly attributable to forces affiliated with eastern commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

The LNA has been waging an offensive on Tripoli since April 2019, though it has recently suffered setbacks amid the latest escalation of foreign involvement in the conflict.

Sunday’s shelling hit an expanse of grass that residents often use to relax on the edge of the Hay al-Andalus neighbourhood, west of central Tripoli.

Ameen al-Hashimi, a press officer for the Tripoli government’s health ministry, told Reuters five people, two of them unidentified, had been killed, and 12 wounded.

Osama Ali, a spokesman for local ambulance services, said four of the casualties had been killed at the grassy area and one other at a second, nearby location.

Reporting by Hani Amara in Istanbul; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Giles Elgood and Chizu Nomiyama

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