UN condemns Libya shelling

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The UN Libya mission condemned a shelling attack it said killed four young women hours after international pleas for a humanitarian pause to aid the fight against the coronavirus.

It said in a tweet the four, aged 14 to 20, as well as five others including an 11-year-old, were hit during “indiscriminate shelling affecting a civilian neighbourhood in Ain Zara, reportedly by LNA forces”.

The eastern-based Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar has been fighting for a year to capture Tripoli, seat of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord.

Libya has not confirmed any coronavirus cases, but its centre for disease control and the World Health Organisation warned it is not prepared for an outbreak.

On Tuesday, Western and Arab countries including those backing sides in the Libyan conflict, as well as the European Union and the UN, urged all to stop fighting and focus on responding to the coronavirus.

Diplomacy made little headway in stopping fighting or finding a political solution to the turmoil following the 2011 revolution that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

Earlier this month UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, resigned citing damage job stress was doing to his health, as talks in Geneva sputtered and a January ceasefire faltered.

He earlier complained about violation of an arms embargo, with weapons pouring in for both sides. The LNA is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia. The GNA is supported by Turkey.