At least five civilians were killed and a further 12 wounded on Sunday, May 31, when rocket attacks hit Tripoli's western Hay al-Andalus district. The most significant strike, attributed to Libya National Army (LNA) forces, reportedly hit the Souq Al-Thelat roundabout on the edge of the district, a popular green space used by many local residents for recreation. Further rocket attacks on Sunday also struck near Omar Al-Mukhtar Street and a cemetery in Souq Al-Thelat.
Sunday's attacks came amid a reduction in fighting around Tripoli since LNA forces withdrew from some areas in the south of the capital on May 20 as part of a unilateral ceasefire for the Eid al-Fitr holiday. However, the LNA has threatened to respond to recent gains by the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) with a campaign of airstrikes, and further air and artillery strikes remain likely in the city in the medium term.
The LNA launched an offensive on Tripoli in April 2019 in an attempt to unseat the internationally recognized GNA. Fighting between GNA and LNA forces has continued to flare up in the capital over the last year, with both sides conducting regular airstrikes. However, several attempts to impose a ceasefire between the groups have failed. The bulk of recent fighting has been concentrated in the southern suburbs of the capital.
Turkish-backed GNA forces have increasingly pushed back against the LNA around Tripoli since April. Having lost several strategic positions in recent weeks, the LNA's Eid-al-Fitr disengagement has been interpreted as an attempt by the group to consolidate their forces into more defendable positions around the capital so as to not lose their foothold in the region.
The security environment in Libya remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas (with appropriate security protocols in place), other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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