Libyan forces push back against Haftar in house-to-house battles

Renegade commander Khalifa Haftar's offensive has failed to break through Tripoli's southern defences

Renegade commander Khalifa Haftar's offensive has failed to break through Tripoli's southern defences

A fighter loyal to the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) stands on a rooftop as smoke rises in the distance during clashes with forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar, in Espiaa, about 40 kilometres south of the Libyan capital Tripoli on 29 April 2019.

Both countries have provided the LNA with military equipment such as helicopters, even building an air base, previous United Nations reports said, helping Haftar become a major player in Libya.

"Noc is the lifeline of the Libyan economy and must be protected from all forms of conflict", he added. Guards at the site eventually repelled the attackers, an oil engineer there told Reuters.

Residents said fighting has been ongoing overnight in residential areas a few kilometers south of Tripoli.

The fighting has killed at least 278 people and wounded more than 1,300, according to a toll released on Wednesday by the World Health Organisation.

The battle for the capital has all but wrecked UN-backed efforts for a peace deal between the rival factions and threatened to further disrupt Libya's oil industry.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said several migrants and refugees were shot and wounded in the attack.

The affiliation of the gunmen who targeted El Sharara was unclear.

El Sharara, which produces around 300,000 barrels day, was seized by state guards and tribesmen in December to press financial demands before reopening in March. His opponents see him as a budding new autocrat in Qadhafi's mould.

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Graham, one of the most vocal advocates of an active USA role overseas, said supporting a faction in Libya's prolonged internal conflict, which ensued after the US -backed ouster and killing of strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, could precipitate a full-blown civil war similar to the situation in Syria.

The field, operated by the NOC and foreign partners, has been pumping crude only intermittently due to blockades mostly by armed groups and other incidents.

LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari told reporters his forces sent the Alkarama patrol vessel to Ras Lanuf in Libya's key Oil Crescent region as part of a "training mission" to visit the operations room and to secure oil facilities.

Supporters of the Tripoli government blamed a UAE drone for previous air strikes.

France has along with the United States been accused in Tripoli of playing both sides since Haftar launched his offensive.

Serraj is backed emphatically by Italy, the former colonial power that has oil assets in Libya, and Turkey.

The U.N. envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, warned nations tempted to continue supporting Haftar that he was no democrat and his political agenda was not favored by most Libyans.

Salame said his peacemaking effort was suffering from deep divisions within the U.N. Security Council that led to a British draft resolution on stopping the fighting over Tripoli being blocked last week by Russian Federation and the United States.

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