CAIRO (AP) — Eastern Libyan forces laying siege to the country’s capital of Tripoli said Wednesday they have agreed on a humanitarian pause in fighting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Ahmed al-Mosmari, a spokesman for the forces of military commander Khalifa Hifter, said at a news conference that they have stopped all military operations across Libya in response to international appeals for a humanitarian truce so authorities could focus on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
The recent round of fighting in war-torn Libya began last April when Hifter’s forces launched an offensive trying to take Tripoli, clashing with an array of militias loosely allied with the U.N.-supported but weak government in the capital.
There was no immediate comment from the Tripoli-based administration, known as the Government of National Accord.
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Violence has escalated in recent weeks, with the two warring sides accusing each other of shelling civilian neighborhoods. The U.N. has said the violence and worsening humanitarian crisis in Libya could amount to war crimes.
The Tripoli-based government’s health ministry said shelling hit a medica facility in the capital Wednesday, killing at least one worker and wounding four others. Hifter’s forces also said a Turkish dRone run by the Tripoli-allied militias targeted two ambulances in southwestern Libya.
Stephanie Williams, acting U.N. envoy in Libya, on Tuesday called for a humanitarian truce during Ramadan that could pave the way for a permanent cease-fire.
The cease-fire announcement came after Hifter, in an attempted show of strength, declared on Monday that a 2015 U.N.-brokered political deal to unite the oil-rich country was “a thing of the past.”