Libya crisis: Fighting flares on outskirts of Tripoli

Fresh fighting has flared near the Libyan capital, Tripoli, between pro-government forces and rebel fighters from the east of the country.

Reports say clashes between Gen Khalifa Haftar’s rebels and pro-government groups are taking place in three suburbs to the south of the city.

Tripoli is the base of the UN-backed, internationally recognised government.

The UN’s Libya envoy has insisted that a planned conference on possible new elections will still go ahead.

In a televised address the head of the UN-backed government, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, accused Gen Haftar of launching a coup.

Mr al-Sarraj said his government had “extended our hands towards peace”, but said Gen Haftar will now be met with “nothing but strength and firmness”.

UN troops in the capital have been placed on high alert.

Libya has been torn by violence and political instability since long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011.

What’s happening on the ground?

General Haftar – who was appointed chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA) under an earlier UN-backed administration – ordered his forces to advance on Tripoli on Thursday, as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was in the city to discuss the ongoing crisis.

The Libyan air force, which is nominally under government control, targeted an area 50km (30 miles) south of the capital on Saturday morning.

It is unclear if there were casualties but the LNA has vowed to retaliate.

Fighting has taken…

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