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  • An airstrike on a hospital killed five doctors and injured at least eight medical personnel in Tripoli, Libya.

    An airstrike on a hospital killed five doctors and injured at least eight medical personnel in Tripoli, Libya. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 July 2019

The Libyan National Army has been trying to seize the capital since April, engaging in violent combat with the forces of the UN-recognized government.

An airstrike allegedly by forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar hit a field hospital near the Libyan capital of Tripoli killing five doctors and injured at least eight medical personnel late Saturday, according to the Tripoli-based and U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). 

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"The field hospital located on the airport road [southern Tripoli] was hit by an air raid," said health ministry spokesperson Lamine al-Hashemi.

"Five doctors were killed and seven other people, including rescuers, were wounded," in the assault that al-Hashemi said was carried out by "a Haftar warplane." Haftar's forces have not yet made any confirmation or denial of responsibility. 

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) has been trying to capture Tripoli since April, engaging in violent combat with GNA forces on the capital’s outskirts. The fighting has killed local civilians and refugees, as airstrikes and skirmishes have wounded 5,000 and killed nearly 1,000 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

From 2014 and on, Libya has had two political power centers, the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, that is having a hard time governing the capital city and some western areas, and another government in Tobruk, an eastern city which has remained under Haftar's control.

The North-African nation which has major oil reserves had been under foreign rule for centuries and gained independence in 1951. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seized power in 1969 and ruled the country for four decades until he was ousted in 2011 by Western military intervention. 

The country has since been in chaos with political forces unable to stabilize it. It also transformed in a key point of departure for migrants heading for Europe, and a source of international concern over the rise of Islamists groups.

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