Libya crisis: United Nations warns attacks on civilians may amount to war crimes

Tripoli's only functional airport hit by air raid as clashes rage

Tripoli's only working airport was targeted in an airstrike on Monday, as forces loyal to renegade Libyan general Khalifa Haftar continued their advance on the capital, ignoring worldwide calls for a truce.

The United Nations said 2,800 people had been displaced by the clashes and many more could flee, though some were trapped.

Libya is now split by two rival factions, with one supporting Haftar in the east, and another based in Tripoli in the west including a UN-backed government.

The LNA says it has 85,000 men, but this includes soldiers paid by the central government that it hopes to inherit.

On Monday, a warplane took out Tripoli's only functioning airport, and the number of displaced people - 3,400 at the last United Nations count - is mounting alongside the casualties.

Spokesman Colonel Mohamed Gnounou said it was aimed at "purging all Libyan cities of aggressor and illegitimate forces", in reference to Haftar's fighters.

The US military has already moved a contingent of US forces out of the country due to the increased unrest.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in NY on Monday that "unfortunately" the United Nations received "no positive news" in response to its urgent appeal for a truce in Tripoli.

At least 32 people have been killed and around 50 wounded in fighting, said the GNA.

After a pause overnight, fighting resumed Monday morning around the capital's destroyed main airport, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Tripoli, and the rural area of Wadi Rabi further east.

Its elite Saiqa (Lightning) force, numbers some 3,500, while Mr Haftar's sons also have well-equipped troops, LNA sources say.

Two doctors were also among those killed.

Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO's director for the eastern Mediterranean, said that targeting of medical staff was "unacceptable" and "worsens the situation for civilians caught up in conflict".

Speaking at the EU's foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg, Mogherini said all sides in the recent surge in fighting should "go back to the negotiating table under the auspices of the U.N".

United Nations envoy Ghassan Salame met Serraj in his office in Tripoli on Monday to discuss "this critical and hard juncture", the UN's Libya mission said.

Ribeiro, reminded all parties of their obligations under International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law to ensure the safety of all civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, and public utilities, and to allow unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access to all affected areas.

The press conference was broadcast by Arab and Libyan television channels.

Forces allied to the Tripoli administration were seen inside the airport, while clashes with the eastern forces were raging south of the airport, a Reuters reporter at the scene and residents said.

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