Turkey and Italy say cannonball near the Libyan embassy | they are World | News | Instant News

TUNIS (Reuters) – Shells landed near the Turkish and Italian embassies in central Tripoli on Thursday night, they said, in expanding bombings carried out by east-based forces into the central district of the capital of Libya.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) based east of Khalifa HList has been bombarding Tripoli for months as part of a year-long war to seize the city, which caused four-fifths of civilian deaths in this year’s conflict, according to the United Nations.

At least 131 civilians were killed or wounded in fighting in the first quarter of 2020, the United States said.

However, Turkey’s military support for the internationally recognized Government of the National Agreement (GNA) has helped its troops push the LNA back from several areas in recent weeks, threatening to end the HList campaign in western Libya.

The Turkish ambassador told Reuters in a message that the Grad missile had hit the High Court building next to the embassy and another landed by the Foreign Ministry.

The Italian Foreign Ministry said on Twitter that the area near the residence of the Italian ambassador was affected, causing at least two deaths. “Italy strongly condemns another attack by HList forces,” he said.

Shells also landed around the city harbor, where UN migration agents had to cancel operations to bring down migrants who had been rescued at sea.

LNA military spokesman this week announced the start of a new air campaign, and said the attack had targeted an airbase in Misrata.

Local authorities there said a loud explosion that occurred Wednesday night was caused by storage problems with old ammunition.

Pro-GNA forces have been able to reverse some of the losses they suffered last year with the help of Turkish drones and air defense systems, which have stopped most air strikes by the LNA and its allies. LNA is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia.

The Misrata explosion on Wednesday came after an attack by pro-GNA forces on al-Watiya airbase west of the capital, one of the most important LNA strongholds in western Libya. Pro-GNA forces have also moved towards Tarhouna, another key LNA stronghold.

The US Libyan mission said last month that during the first quarter of 2020, at least 131 civilians were killed or injured, up 45% compared to the last quarter of 2019 when fighting escalated.

It was said that ground battles were the main cause of death and that four-fifths of them were caused by troops affiliated with the LNA.

(Reporting by Angus McDowall, Aidan Lewis and Hani Amara; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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