Attacks on civilian targets in Libya 'unacceptable': Italy

Rome, July 30 (IANS/AKI) Attacks by "rebel" forces on civilian targets in war-wracked Libya including hospitals and airports are "unacceptable," Italy's Interior Minister and Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini said on Tuesday.

"Whoever fuels the war in Libya, hates Italy and Europe and is threatening the security of the entire continent," he said.

The nearly four-month-old battle for Tripoli between eastern warlord Khalifa Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army and forces allied with the internationally recognised government was the focus of a phonecall between Salvini and his Libyan counterpart Fathi Bashagha on Tuesday.

During their phone conversation, they discussed the plight of the civilians population in Tripoli as well as issued connected to the control of migration, Salvini said.

Salvini said he also confirmed to Bashaga the Italian government's support for Libya's UN-backed government and said Rome hopes stability will soon return to the chaos-stricken country.

On Monday, a paramedic was killed by an airstrike on an ambulance he was driving in southern Tripoli, the Libyan Observer cited the health ministry's crises committee chief, Fawzi Awnis, as telling reporters.

On Saturday, Haftar's warplanes destroyed a field hospital in southern Tripoli killing five doctors and injuring eight others - an attack that was condemned by the UN, Libya's Presidential Council and its Foreign Ministry.

At least 12 health personnel have been killed, over 30 people injured and 20 ambulances directly or indirectly impacted by at least 38 attacks on medical facilities since the LNA began an aerial and ground offensive in Tripoli in early April, according to the UN.

Tripoli's only functioning airport, Mitiga, has been forced to close ten times since April due to "systematic" missiles strikes, including two attacks on Monday, the Libyan Express reported, citing airport officials.

--IANS/AKI

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