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Fighting escalates in Libya despite virus threat

Benghazi: Battles raged on several fronts in Libya on Friday after a night of heavy bombardment in Tripoli, combatants and residents said, despite the conflict posing threats to efforts to stop the coronavirus pandemic.

Serious warfare resumed this week after a comparative lull in recent weeks, defying international calls for calm to allow Libya’s fragmented and overstretched health system to prepare for any spread of the virus. The country confirmed its first case of the highly infectious respiratory disease COVID-19 on Monday – a Libyan man recently returned from overseas.

Fighters of Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord fire at the forces of the led by Khalifa Haftar in southern Tripoli.

Fighters of Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord fire at the forces of the led by Khalifa Haftar in southern Tripoli.Credit:Getty Images

After years of instability and violence, much of the North African country’s medical infrastructure is in ruins, hospitals and clinics have been targeted, and many doctors and nurses have not been paid since December.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar has been assaulting Tripoli for nearly a year, hoping to capture the capital in the north-west where the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) is based.

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