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Libyan forces kill 20 militants loyal to opposition leader

Vehicles and militants gather in Tripoli, Libya, on April 6, 2019. File Photo by EPA-EFE
Vehicles and militants gather in Tripoli, Libya, on April 6, 2019. File Photo by EPA-EFE

April 3 (UPI) -- The Libyan government said Friday it killed 20 rebels loyal to opposition Gen. Khalifa Haftar in Sirte after accusing the militants of violating a cease-fire.

Airstrikes by the Government of National Accord, of GNA, targeted an airbase held by Haftar forces west of Tripoli. GNA forces said it destroyed warplanes, tanks and other armored vehicles and artillery belonging to the militants.

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The GNA, backed militarily by Turkey, has support from the United Nations while Haftar's forces are allied with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The two sides have been at war since the death of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 left a leadership vacuum in Libya.

Amid the fighting, Libya's National Center for Disease Control reported its first death connected with the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday.

Health officials said an 85-year-old woman tested positive after her death. The United Nations has called for both sides in the Libyan conflict to begin a cease-fire so efforts can be made to slow the disease there.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said it needs $12.5 million for isolation units, personal protective equipment and other safety equipment for Libya's healthcare workers.

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