Libyan coronavirus hospital closes amid attacks

Libya’s UN-backed government says it has suspended activity at one of the main hospitals in the capital, Tripoli; which has been repeatedly targeted in attacks.

According to the health authorities, the al-Khadra hospital was hit again on Thursday. This makes it the third strike in a matter of days.

These attacks have however been blamed on forces from eastern Libyan under the control of Gen Khalifa Haftar.

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Earlier in the week the UN’s humanitarian co-ordinator for Libya, Yacoub El Hillo, warned that the covid-19 pandemic together with the attacks on the hospital, which houses a coronavirus ward, were a fatal combination.

He described it as a “clear violation of international humanitarian law”.

“The fighting parties must stop killing innocent civilians now and focus on defeating the virus,” he said.

Unfortunately, the conflict in Tripoli has intensified in recent weeks.

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Since the 2011 uprising which ousted long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has been wrecked by this conflict.

The Libyan National Army (LNA); which is loyal to Gen Haftar and controls most of eastern Libya, launched its attack on Tripoli a year ago.

Also, the internationally recognised government in Tripoli and several armed groups allied to that administration rival it.

Officially, the country has 19 confirmed cases of coronavirus but it has tested fewer than 400 people.

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