Libyan rebels loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar have struck the main hospital of the capital, Tripoli, the Libyan army says.
According to a statement carried by Turkey’s state Anadolu news agency, the Libyan Army said that the rebels launched a rocket attack on Tripoli Central Hospital and some civilian settlements on Thursday morning.
Libya’s Health Ministry said in a separate statement that at least 14 civilians had been wounded in the attack, warning that the hospital would not be able to offer services due to the attack.
The ministry said that posed a major threat to the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, which as of Thursday had infected 64 people and claimed the lives of three others in Libya.
The rebels, however, denied attacking the hospital.
According to the United Nations (UN), seven health centers in Libya have been struck a dozen times since the beginning of this year.
Libya rebels intensify campaign to overtake Tripoli
Libyan rebels heavily bombard the capital city, Tripoli, in a new push to gain positions in its southern suburbs after losing ground elsewhere in the country.
Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged in Libya, namely the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and another group based in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by Haftar’s rebels.
The strongman, who is primarily supported by the United Arab Emirate (UAE), Egypt, and Jordan, launched a deadly offensive to capture Tripoli, the seat of the government, in April last year. His forces have been bogged down on the city’s outskirts.
Government forces recently liberated several towns that had been occupied by the rebels in the northwest.
Haftar’s rebels have been intensifying a pushback by escalating attacks on the capital.
By Africafrique and agencies