The water supply in Tripoli was restored on Tuesday, May 21, after gunmen from the 219 Battalion assaulted the Great Man-Made River Project station in Ash Shwayrif (some 400 km [250 mi] south of the capital) on Saturday, May 18, forcing employees to halt water from flowing through the pipes. Water supply in Tripoli was not immediately affected by the act due to two-days' water supply stored in the capital's system. The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) accused the 219 Battalion of coordinating the attack with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) as the latter continues to wage an offensive to take control of Tripoli. The LNA has denied responsibility for shutting off the water supply.
Similar assaults on water infrastructure and associated disruptions to water supply are possible in and around Tripoli over the near term.
The installation was previously attacked twice by the 219 Battalion in 2017. According to local reports, the commander of the group turned off the water to try to force the GNA to release his brother, who has been detained since 2017.
The LNA launched an offensive on Tripoli on April 4. Evacuations of foreigners from Tripoli began en masse on April 7. LNA and GNA airstrikes have been sporadically reported since April 8. LNA officials supporting Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar have announced their intention to continue the advance on Tripoli and signaled possible conflict in central oil ports, such as Ras Lanuf and As-Sidr. The bulk of recent fighting has been concentrated in Tripoli's southern suburbs.
Individuals in Tripoli are advised to monitor developments to the situation, prepare for possible additional water shortages, avoid areas affected by the fighting, and refrain from nonessential movement within the city.
The security environment in Libya remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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