Libyan commander urges troops to press fight to take Tripoli

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CAIRO (AP) — A Libyan military commander whose forces are advancing on Tripoli is rallying his fighters on in defiance of U.N. requires a weeklong cease-fire to coincide with the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadan on Monday.

The battle for the Libyan capital, which erupted in early April, has threatened to ignite a civil conflict on the size of the 2011 rebellion that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The preventing has killed not less than 432 folks to date, together with combatants and civilians, in keeping with the U.N. well being company.

The push was launched by the self-styled Libyan Nationwide Military, led by Khalifa Hifter and based mostly within the nation’s east, which is looking for to take over town and defeat militias loosely allied to a U.N.-supported authorities in Tripoli.

The World Well being Group mentioned Monday that together with the 432 killed, 2,069 folks have been wounded. The preventing has additionally displaced greater than 50,000 folks, WHO mentioned.

The U.N. has repeatedly referred to as for an finish to the preventing. On Sunday, the U.N. mission mentioned a “one-week humanitarian truce” would start at four a.m. Monday and referred to as on all events to stop navy operations, together with reconnaissance and mobilization.

The truce would come as many Muslims the world over start observing the fasting month of Ramadan.

However in launched feedback, Hifter mentioned Ramadan had not been a purpose to halt earlier battles when he took the jap cities of Benghazi and Derna.

“I salute you in these superb days and urge you, together with your power and willpower, to show the enemy a higher and greater lesson than the earlier ones … until we uproot them from our beloved land,” Hifter mentioned.

U.N. Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres and African Union Fee Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat each strongly appealed once more for a cease-fire after assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Guterres famous the initiative for a Ramadan truce, however mentioned what is actually wanted is a halt to hostilities and overseas interference to permit Libyans to come back collectively “and talk about critically, politically” a means towards nationwide reconciliation, elections and peace.

Mahamat mentioned the AU hoped for a reconciliation convention that was canceled after Hifter’s offensive, and its “precedence at this time is a cessation of hostilities.”

Over the previous days, the preventing has been centered alongside the southern components of the capital, the place Hifter’s forcers tried to breach the militia defenses.

Hifter beforehand challenged the U.N. when he ordered his troops to march on Tripoli whilst U.N. Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres was visiting the North African nation to push for a U.N.-brokered convention. That gathering, which was geared toward bridging the hole amongst Libya’s factions and drawing a roadmap for brand spanking new elections, ultimately fell aside and was postponed amid the violence.

Since Gahdafi’s ouster, Libya has been ruled by rival authorities within the east and in Tripoli, within the west, every backed by numerous militias and armed teams preventing over assets and territory.

Hifter, who in recent times has been battling Islamic extremists and different militias throughout jap Libya, says he’s decided to revive stability to the North African nation.

However his opponents view him as an aspiring autocrat and concern a return to a one-man rule in Libya.

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Related Press author Edith M. Lederer on the United Nations contributed to this report.

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