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  • Smoke rises Tripoli port after being attacked. Feb. 18, 2020

    Smoke rises Tripoli port after being attacked. Feb. 18, 2020 | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 February 2020

Brigadier Khaled Al Mahjoub of the LNA told Al-Arabiya that the vessel had arrived in violation of an arms embargo and was carrying weapons for armed militias.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) hit Tripoli’s port Tuesday allegedly targeting a Turkish ship bringing in arms, a LNA official said.

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“The Turkish ship loaded with weapons and ammunition that docked this morning at the port of Tripoli was destroyed,” reads a short statement published by an LNA Facebook account.

Brigadier Khaled Al Mahjoub of the LNA told Al-Arabiya that the vessel had arrived in violation of an arms embargo and was carrying weapons for armed militias.

The statement didn’t elaborate more on the attack. However, footage shared online showed thick black smoke rising from the dock areas of Tripoli, which is controlled by the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

The head of the U.N. Libya mission Ghassan Salame said the port attack was a "big breach" of the fragile truce that was brokered by Russia and Turkey on Jan. 12 as part of efforts to de-escalate the battle for the capital.

Due to the attack - a first from General Khalifa Haftar’s forces since the offensive to take over the capital began in April 2019 -  the GNA suspended the second round of ceasefire talks hosted by the U.N., the presidential council of the government announced in a statement, adding it will respond firmly to the attack in at an appropriate time.

The first round of talks held on Feb. 3 faltered when officials concluded negotiations without signing an agreement. 

The LNA announces the destruction of a Turkish ship carrying arms and ammunition in Tripoli port.
 

As fighting continues despite a fragile truce, the U.N. envoy said Sunday that the situation is “complicated because there are violations by land, sea, and air, but it needs to be monitored and there needs to be accountability,” warning that Libya was now awash with advanced weapons.

On Jan. 19, in a Germany-led peace summit all countries with interests in the conflict - as well as the two warring sides - agreed to respect the disregarded international arms embargo on the North African nation.

The LNA, which is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France and Russia, has been fighting off a ten-month-long offensive over the capital, which is the last stronghold of the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) of premier Fayez al Sarraj’s, who is backed by Turkey, Qatar, and Italy.

As part of the international measures to deescalate the conflict, on Monday European Union foreign affairs ministers agreed to launch a new operation in the Mediterranean to enforce a United Nations arms embargo on Libya.

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