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  • People wait to donate blood after the attack on a military academy in Tripoli.

    People wait to donate blood after the attack on a military academy in Tripoli. | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 January 2020
Opinion

"Algeria considers the Libyan capital Tripoli as a red line not to be crossed," the president said.

The president of Algeria Abdelmajid Tebboune warned Monday that Libya’s capital, Tripoli is  "a red line no one should cross," after forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar reportedly killed 30 students Saturday when they bombed a military academy.

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“Algeria strongly denounces [...] the recent massacre of nearly 30 students at the Military Academy in Tripoli, a criminal act and even a war crime,” Tebboune declared during a meeting with the head of the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

“Therefore, Algeria considers the Libyan capital Tripoli as a red line not to be crossed," he added.

At least 30 people were killed and 33 injured in the airstrike. Most of the victims were students.

Tebboune also urged the international community and the Security Council, in particular, to "assume their responsibilities in imposing respect for peace and security in Libya." 

The GNA which is backed by Turkey and Qatar, as well as Italy, has been fighting off a months-long offensive by the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Haftar, which is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France and Russia.

The U.N. recognized government recently asked Turkey for military aid, and after validation by the parliament, Ankara started sending military advisers and experts to the war-torn North African country.

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Last month, the GNA warned Libya's neighbors of severe consequences if Haftar was to take Tripoli.

"If Tripoli falls, Tunis and Algiers will fall in turn. This is an attempt to sow chaos in the region and exercise control over North Africa," Fathi Bashagha, the GNA's interior minister, said.

Tensions escalated in April last year when former CIA asset, Haftar launched a military operation to seize Tripoli after sweeping through much of Libya's south and capturing most of the country's oil facilities.

Fightings intensified in recent weeks with shelling and airstrikes in and around the capital, as well as in the strategic coastal city of Sirte. 

On Tuesday, a militia allied with the GNA conceded that it withdrew from Sirte to avoid bloodshed after their eastern rivals rapidly entered and took control.

Libya, a large oil producer, and once a stable and prosperous nation with health and educations indicators among the highest in Africa has been plagued with turmoil and chaos since a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-backed uprising toppled longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

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