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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

At least 30 cadets dead in airstrike on Tripoli military school: Government

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 05 January 2020 7:43 AM

The Tripoli government says dozens of people have been killed and injured in an airstrike on a military academy in the Libyan capital.

Amin al-Hashemi, spokesman for Libya's internationally-recognized government, said the raid took place on Saturday as the cadets in the military school – situated in al-Hadba al-Khadra neighborhood of Tripoli – were gathered on a parade ground before being sent to their dormitories.

The Health Ministry in Tripoli said the raid killed 30 cadets and injured 33 more. Reuters cited Health Minister Hamid bin Omar as saying that the number of fatalities was still rising.

Forces allied with the Tripoli-based government – known as the Government of National Accord (GNA) – said the raid had been carried out by their eastern rivals backed by renegade general, Khalifa Haftar, who has been pressing ahead with an offensive on the capital since April 2019.

However, one source with the camp based in the eastern city of Tobruk denied any role, according to Reuters.

Hafter's forces have stepped up their offensive since November 2019, when the rival Tripoli camp inked a military and security cooperation deal with Turkey, angering the power base in the east.

There have been concerns of even further escalation between rival Libyan forces after Turkey's parliament voted on January 2 to allow a troop deployment in support of the GNA as part of their military deal.

In response, the rival parliament in Tobruk voted on Saturday to cut ties with Turkey in protest at the agreement. Haftar has also urged all Libyans to take up arms against the foreign intervention.

More than 280 civilians and over 2,000 fighters have been killed since the start of Haftar's assault on Tripoli, according to the United Nations. The fighting has also displaced some 146,000 people.

On Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated a call for an immediate ceasefire in Libya, warning that the delivery of foreign support to warring parties would "further complicate efforts to reach a peaceful and comprehensive political solution."

A day later, Saudi Arabia – which is reported to be funding Haftar's offensive on Tripoli – condemned "the recent Turkish escalation in Libya," saying the Turkish parliament's approval of military deployment was a violation of UN Security Council decisions.

A Wall Street Journal report in April 2019 revealed that Haftar had direct support from Saudi Arabia in his campaign to seize Tripoli. The powerful general had been ensured of massive funds from Riyadh during a trip to the kingdom before he started his offensive.

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