Gunmen storm foreign ministry in Tripoli

Africa, Terrorism

By Nada Bashir, CNN

A picture taken on December 25, 2018 shows a firetruck and security officers at the scene of an attack outside the Libyan foreign ministry headquarters in the capital Tripoli. – At least one person was killed on December 25 as attackers stormed Libya’s foreign ministry after a car bomb exploded in front of the building and a suicide bomber then struck inside, a security source at the scene told AFP. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP) (Photo credit should read MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN) Gunmen armed with machine guns stormed the foreign ministry of Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tripoli on Tuesday, killing three people who worked there, a spokesperson for the UN-backed Government of National Accord told CNN.One of the victims was a high-ranking official, the spokesperson added. 10 others were injured, according to the Health Ministry.Three gunmen died in the attack that happened at around 10 a.m. local time. One of the gunmen is believed to have been killed after an explosion was heard in the top floor of the building, politician Guma El-Gamaty who was in the area said.

“The top floor was totally engulfed in fire; you can still see smoke coming from the building,” he said.Gamaty added that emergency services and security forces were on the ground dealing with the situation, which he believed was under control.Related: Week of chaos a reminder that Libya is still broken .

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya condemned attack.”Terrorism will not triumph over the Libyans’ decision to move forward towards building their state and renouncing violence. We will not accept any attack on a state institution, especially one committed by a terrorist group,” said Ghassan Salamé, the Special Representative of the Secretary General in Libya.”We will work with the Libyan people to prevent terrorist groups from turning Libya into a haven or an arena for their crimes.”

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Suicide attackers storm HQ of Libya’s election commission, 12 dead

News, Terrorism

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Suicide bombers stormed the head offices of Libya’s electoral commission in Tripoli on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people and setting fire to the building in an attack claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

The assailants also opened fire on employees of the High National Election Commission (HNEC) and fought a gun battle with security forces trying to regain control of the site, officials said.

The attack appeared aimed at derailing efforts to organize elections in Libya by the end of this year, part of a U.N.-led attempt to unify and stabilize the country after years of conflict and political division.

Since December the electoral commission has registered nearly one million new voters across Libya, though no date has been set for polls.

Wednesday’s attack was the first of its kind in Tripoli since 2015. Though security across Libya remains volatile, violence in the capital has recently been limited to localized clashes between armed groups.

Immediately after the attack thick black smoke could be seen billowing from the electoral commission’s offices in the Ghout al-Shaal district west of central Tripoli.

“I saw two suicide bombers myself… they were shouting Allahu Akbar (God is greatest),” said commission spokesman Khaled Omar, who fled the offices with other staff as the attack unfolded.

“A suicide bomber blew up himself inside the commission and the others set a part of the building on fire.”

A security official who spoke to witnesses at the scene of the attack said several gunmen had opened fire on guards while the suicide bombers entered the building, and that some may have later escaped.

Once inside the bombers shot dead employees at close range before detonating explosives, said the official, who asked not to be named.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on Amaq, its news agency. Two assailants — identified as Abu Ayoub and Abu Toufik — clashed with security forces before entering the building and detonating explosive jackets after running out of ammunition, the jihadist group said.

The health ministry said 12 people had been confirmed killed and seven wounded. Most of the victims were HNEC staff, with at least two security personnel also killed, Interior Minister Abdulsalam Ashour told a press conference.

The fire blackened the commission building, though HNEC head Emad al-Sayah said the electoral database was safe.

“This breach targeted democracy, not just the HNEC,” Sayah told reporters. “The choice and future of Libyans were targeted.”

Libya has been in a state of turmoil since a 2011 civil war resulted in the overthrow of longstanding ruler Muammar Gaddafi by rebel fighters backed by NATO air strikes.

Elections in 2014 were disputed, resulting in rival governments backed by competing military alliances in Tripoli and the east.

Militants linked to Islamic State have carried out suicide bombings across the north of the country, though the group lost most of its fighters in Libya when it was driven out of its stronghold in the central city of Sirte in 2016.

Libyan and Western officials say militants, including fighters loyal to Islamic State and al Qaeda, are now concentrated in remote desert areas, but also have sleeper cells in coastal cities including Tripoli.

On Sunday a joint meeting of the Arab League, European Union, African Union, and United Nations “emphasized the importance of holding parliamentary and presidential elections” in Libya, noting that they were planned by the end of the year.

Some Libyans and foreign officials have questioned the push for new elections, expressing concern about the lack of security as well as legal and logistical challenges.

Writing by Aidan Lewis, Editing by Peter Graff, Richard Balmforth, William Maclean

Qatar Fund for Development and Qatar Red Crescent Society sign $8mn Libya humanitarian aid pact

News

108.jpg08 May 2018

Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) and Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) have signed a $8mn funding agreement to address the humanitarian and medical needs of more than 623,000 beneficiaries in Libya.

The agreement was signed by Director of Development Projects at QFFD Misfer Hamad al-Shahwani and Director of Relief and International Development at QRCS Rashid Saad al-Mohannadi.

Commenting on the occasion, Ambassador of Qatar to Libya Sheikh Mohamed bin Nasser bin Jassim al-Thani said that the donation builds upon the continuous Qatari humanitarian endeavors in Libya since 2016.

He added that it is part of a larger $10mn initiative announced by Qatar to help improve the conditions in the war-torn country, through diverse humanitarian operations in co-operation with the Libyan Red Crescent.

Following the signing ceremony, al-Shahwani said: “This joint work is aimed at meeting the humanitarian needs of the affected communities, in the fields of food security, water and sanitation, and nonfood aid. Also, it is planned to throw out a lifeline to hospitals and health centres, operate mobile clinics, and launch capacity-building programmes for medical professionals”.

Al-Mohannadi thanked QFFD “for this generous support to QRCS’s ongoing relief work in Libya. With these funds, we will be able to expand our intervention to take in more and more beneficiaries. Our ultimate goal is to alleviate their suffering in such a protracted ordeal, while respecting their dignity”.

Al-Mohannadi said the partnership was a reflection of Qatar’s unwavering support for the vulnerable, particularly in regional war zones like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya.

Under the agreement, a relief action plan will be implemented in southern cities of Libya, covering many aspects. Some of them include training 180 physicians, nurses, and midwives, providing three major hospitals and three health centers with medicines, equipment, and medical consumables, as well as deploying mobile medical convoys to three underserved districts.

The partnership will also work on distributing food packages to 4,000 households, containing rice, pasta, canned tuna, sugar, and other food staples. They will also dig water wells and install pumps and power generators for three cities, with an overall population of 100,000 people. There will also be nonfood items will be distributed to 4,000 households. These include mattresses, adults’ and kids’ blankets, and rugs.

Another two supplementary schemes will be pursued, one to procure medical supplies for Misurata Central Hospital, and the other to support the Azzaytuna University in Tarhuna with academic equipment, educational materials for labs, an e-library, lab renovation, and voltage regulators.

Original source: GulfTimes
Published on 7 May 2018

Libyan commander declares ‘zero hour’ for campaign to take city — peoples trust toronto

Africa, News, Politics

https://ift.tt/eA8V8J May 7, 2018 By Ayman al-Warfalli BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar announced the start of military operations to “liberate” Derna on Monday after his forces clashed with rivals on the outskirts of the eastern city. “Zero hour for the liberation of Derna has struck. Our army forces are now targeting their […]

via Libyan commander declares ‘zero hour’ for campaign to take city — peoples trust toronto

By Ayman al-Warfalli
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar announced the start of military operations to “liberate” Derna on Monday after his forces clashed with rivals on the outskirts of the eastern city.
“Zero hour for the liberation of Derna has struck. Our army forces are now targeting their hideouts,” Haftar said in a speech at a military parade in Benghazi.
“We have given instructions to avoid civilians,” he said. “The peace efforts in Derna have reached a dead end.”
Derna is the last major bastion of opposition to Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) in the east of the country.
The LNA has encircled the city, on the coastal highway between Benghazi and Egypt, and has long threatened to begin ground operations there. However, its campaign has so far been limited to encirclement along with occasional air strikes and bombardments.
Derna is controlled by a coalition of Islamist militants and rebel veterans known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council. Egypt, which backs the LNA, has also carried out air strikes in Derna on what it said were training camps sending militants into Egypt.
In recent weeks the LNA has deployed new units in the Derna area and at the end of last month Haftar made a rare visit to forces stationed outside the city, following his return from medical treatment in France. [nL8N1S3AKZ]
After Libya split between rival camps in the east and west of the country in 2014, Haftar gradually emerged as the dominant figure in the east. He is aligned with a parliament and government based in the east and opposes the internationally recognized government in the capital, Tripoli.
On Monday he was attending a military parade in Benghazi to mark the fourth anniversary of the start of his “Dignity Operation”, the campaign in which the LNA battled Islamists and other rivals to take control of Benghazi last year.
The United Nations is leading efforts to stabilize Libya and prepare it for elections before the end of the year, but armed violence is still common across the country.

(Writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by Andrew Roche)
Vía One America News Network https://ift.tt/2rsjGjR