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Shelling kills at least two in Tripoli as powers divided over Haftar’s push

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Libyan National Army (LNA) is stuck in the city’s southern outskirts. (AFP)
At least two people were killed in heavy shelling in the Libyan capital Tripoli, an official said on Wednesday as Europe and the Gulf were divided over a push by eastern forces commander Khalifa Haftar to seize the city.

Nearly two weeks into its assault, the veteran 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.

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.

As the rockets fell, the UN Security Council was due to consider a British-drafted resolution that would demand a cease-fire 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 Qaddafi 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.
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