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At least four people killed in heavy shelling in Libya’s Tripoli

Heavy shelling in the Libyan capital Tripoli has killed at least four people, an official said on Wednesday, as Europe and certain Persian Gulf Arab states remain divided over the push by renegade commander Khalifa Haftar to seize the city.

Nearly two weeks into Haftar’s assault, the general’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) is stuck in the city’s southern outskirts battling armed groups loyal to the internationally recognized Tripoli government.

But the southern district of Abu Salim got shelled late on Tuesday with explosions being heard even in the city center where life had been going on largely untouched by the violence.

The artillery killed at least two people and wounded eight, Osama Ali, spokesman for a Tripoli emergency body, told Reuters, without saying who was behind the shelling. Another official told Libya’s Alahrar channel four had been killed and 20 wounded.

The district is located near the road to the old airport in southern Tripoli, which has changed hands several times since the fighting started. Abu Salim lies north of forces loyal to Tripoli seeking to stop the LNA troops coming from south.

Forces allied to Tripoli have accused the LNA of firing rockets into residential areas, but the LNA said in a statement it had nothing to with the shelling, accusing instead a Tripoli-based group.

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As the rockets fell, the UN Security Council was due to consider a British-drafted resolution that would demand a ceasefire in Libya and call on all countries with influence over the warring parties to ensure compliance.

Foreign powers are worried but unable to present a united front over the latest flare-up in the cycle of anarchy gripping Libya since dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.

The conflict has brought a growing humanitarian toll – 174 people killed, 756 injured and almost 20,000 displaced, according to the latest United Nations tallies – and sunk for now an international peace plan.

It threatens to disrupt oil flows, foment migration across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, and allow extremists to exploit the chaos.

Qatar said an existing UN arms embargo on Libya should be strictly enforced, to prevent Haftar, 75, from receiving arms. Haftar enjoys the backing of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

(Source: Reuters)

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