Rocket-fire on Libyan capital kills 3


Rockets apparently fired by Misrata rebels on Tripoli kill 3, as state television channels halt broadcasting

A Libyan man stands beside shrapnel from rocket fire in al-Andalus district of Tripoli (AFP)
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Last update: 
Thursday 12 February 2015 21:00 UTC

Militias fighting for control of Tripoli fired rockets towards affluent areas of the Libyan capital in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Three people were killed when GRAD rockets were fired at the Hay al-Andalus and Gargaresh districts of the city, eye-witnesses told Al-Jazeera.

There were also reports that six people had been injured, though there has been no official health ministry confirmation as yet.

A canning factory in Tripoli was also hit overnight.

In the early hours of Tuesday the Facebook page for “Operation Lion”, the military campaign in Tripoli run by a group of Misrata rebels called Libya Dawn, announced that they had launched a number of rockets in the capital.

Later in the day, they posted a picture purporting to show a large rocket accompanied by the caption, “yet to be used.”

Photo credit: Facebook / غرفة العمليات الرسمية

Hours after the strikes, it was reported that the normally bustling suburban streets remained quiet.

File on Twitter

Translation: Economic activity in Gargaresh is still very limited – the crisis, the flight of families, the escape of foreign workers and financial liquidity are probably to blame…

Two state-owned television channels, Libya al-Watania and Libya al-Rasmia, stopped broadcasting on Tuesday, reported Sky News.

Mohammed el-Jarh, a Libya analyst based in Tripoli, explains that both channels, though state-funded, had been under militia control for a prolonged period.

The Libyan authorities requested that NileSat, the Egyptian company that runs the communications satellites streaming the services, stop the channels from broadcasting.

There are also reports that the Libyan authorities have stopped issuing work visas to foreign journalists, though this has not been verified as yet.

Late on Monday night, Tripoli’s local council issued a statement holding Libya’s interim government “wholly responsible” for all the violence the capital has seen in the last days.

After an escalation in violence, which has seen “GRAD missiles hitting safe areas of the city” and thousands of families fleeing their homes according to the statement, the council slammed government politicians for failing to sign up to protocols that would have expelled militias from the city.

Protesting against the use of unidentified war planes to strike the capital in the early hours of Monday morning, the council demanded an immediate ceasefire and an investigation into the renegade General Haftar, whose forces claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed six Libya Dawn fighters.

On Monday Haftar, a former army commander battling various militia groups throughout the country, claimed his forces had carried out the strikes as part of a joint international operation.

French, US, EU and Egyptian officials have all denied involvement in launching the strikes in co-operation with Haftar's forces, who are not in control of war planes.