UN condemns attack on Tripoli water supply

Government fighters in Tripoli
Getty Images
Fighters loyal to Libya's UN-backed government have been battling against Mr Haftar's forces

The UN has condemned an attack on a water control station in Libya that has left the besieged capital, Tripoli, without running water.

“Such attacks against civilian infrastructure that are essential for the survival of the civilian population may be considered war crimes,” UN humanitarian co-ordinator Maria Ribeiro said in a statement.

Gunmen reportedly stormed the station at Jabal al-Hasawna in south-western Libya on Sunday, forcing the workers to cut off the flow of water to Tripoli and other cities in western and central parts of Libya.

The attack targeted a part of the Great Man-Made River Project, a network of pipes that carries underground water from the Sahara to the country’s west.

Tripoli is the focus of a battle between forces loyal to the UN-backed government and militia led by military strongman Khalifa Haftar, that have been advancing on the city of 2.5 million people.

It is not clear who carried out the attack on the water control station.

A reporter for the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network said the capital’s residents were relying on private water deliveries to meet their daily needs.

Tripoli siege may herald 'long and bloody war' - UN

BBC World Service

A fighter loyal to the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) fires his weapon during clashes with forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar south of the capital Tripoli's suburb of Ain Zara, on 25 April 2019.
Libya's internationally recognised government is under threat

The UN envoy to Libya has warned that fighting on the edge of the capital, Tripoli, marks the "start of a long and bloody war".

Ghassan Salamé told the UN Security Council that, unless the flow of arms to the country was stopped, there could be a descent into what he called an "all-against-all" state of chaos.

Mr Salamé said the conflict would threaten Libya's neighbours, and the wider Mediterranean region.

The battle for Tripoli began last month when the military strongman, Khalifa Haftar - who's backed by Egypt and the UAE - launched an offensive.

General Haftar controls a swathe of territory in the east of Libya and is trying to seize the capital, Tripoli.

He is being confronted by militias loosely aligned with the UN-backed government, based in the capital.

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Libya PM to visit Europe to rally support

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A Libyan volunteer repairs a weapon belonging to the Members of the Libyan internationally recognised government forces at a workshop in Misrata, Libya May 2, 2019
Libya has been hit by instability since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011

Libya's UN-recognised prime minister begins a short visit to Europe as he seeks allies in his struggle against a rogue military commander.

Fayez al-Sarraj travels first to Italy, the former colonial power, before travelling on to Germany for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

On Wednesday he'll meet the French President Emmanuel Macron, whom he has criticised for supporting his rival, Gen Khalifa Haftar.

On the eve of his visit, AFP news agency said the UN was investigating the use of Chinese drones by Gen Haftar, in an apparent violation of an arms embargo on the warring parties.

Read more: Haftar - Libya's military strongman