UN says over 9,500 Libyans displaced due to fighting in Tripoli

                         

More than 9,500 people have been displaced by ongoing fighting near the Libyan capital Tripoli, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Friday, warning that the number is rapidly increasing.

The figure includes the movement of some 3,500 individuals in the last 24 hours, the OCHA said in a statement.

Last week, Khalifa Haftar, the Commander of the Self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), ordered his forces to seize Tripoli from a rival government backed by the UN.

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Clashes have since taken place in the southern suburbs of Tripoli, displacing thousands of civilians.

The majority of families, who asked to be evacuated from conflict-affected areas, could not be evacuated due to ongoing hostilities and blocked access, the statement revealed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Haftar was reportedly promised tens of millions of dollars by Saudi Arabia to help carry out the offensive on Tripoli.

The Saudi offer of funding was made during a visit that Haftar made to the country prior to beginning his military campaign on April 4, the U.S. newspaper said, citing Saudi officials.

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The WHO said on Thursday that at least 56 people have been killed in six days of fighting near the Libyan capital Tripoli.

It also warned against a prolonged conflict in the area.

Haftar’s offensive has raised fears of a worsening conflict in oil-rich Libya, where 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 backed by the UN, and the other in the eastern city of Tobruk, which is allied with Haftar.

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