Germany called a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss escalating fighting in Libya on Wednesday, after the 15-member body failed to agree on a joint call for a ceasefire.
On April 4, Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), ordered his forces to seize Tripoli from the Government of National Accord (GNA).
The council will meet on Thursday afternoon for a closed-door session to discuss how to act as attacks on Tripoli continue.
Equatorial Guinea objected to the British-drafted text on behalf of the three African nations on the council, a diplomat told dpa.
During negotiations on the draft, Russia had been keen to not name the LNA as the force attacking Tripoli, diplomats said.
Haftar, who has been expanding his foothold in the country since 2014, is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Analysts say he also more or less has covert support from Russia and France.
The United Nations envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, on Wednesday called for an immediate halt to attacks on Tripoli, hours after deadly shelling hit a residential suburb of the embattled city.
“Horrible night of random shelling of residential areas. For the sake of 3 million civilians living in Greater Tripoli, these attacks should stop. NOW!” Salame tweeted.
At least six civilians were killed and 35 injured in the overnight rocket attack on the southern Tripoli district of Abu Salim, the head of the suburb’s municipality, Abdel-Rahman al-Hamadi, said.
The dead include four people from the same family, he told dpa.
Initially, the official said four people had been killed and 23 others injured in the attack.
Rival factions engaged in fighting for the last two weeks on the outskirts of Tripoli blamed each other for the shelling.
The GNA, based in Tripoli and backed by the UN, announced three days of mourning for victims, Libya’s official news agency LNA reported.
Haftar has portrayed the campaign as a “war on terrorism” and shrugged off calls to halt the offensive.
At least 189 people have been killed in the two-week fighting near Tripoli, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported Wednesday.
Some 816 others were injured in the violence, according to the agency, which did not specify the number of civilians among the casualties.
More than 18,000 people have been displaced from the conflict zone, the WHO said in a tweet, while the total number of displaced people in Tripoli was counted at 25,000 as of Wednesday, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Haftar’s onslaught raised fears of a worsening conflict in oil-rich Libya, which has experienced chaos since long-time dictator Moamer Gaddafi was ousted in a 2011 NATO-backed revolt.
Libya has at least two competing administrations: one based in Tripoli led by Fayez Serraj, and the other in the eastern city of Tobruk, which is allied with Haftar.