Libyan hospital treating coronavirus patients attacked again by Haftar loyalists

Militias loyal to Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar attacked medical warehouses belonging to a hospital in the capital treating coronavirus patients on Sunday . The attack targeted depots of the Al-Khadra Hospital in al-Swani in the capital, Tripoli, with Grad missiles, it has been reported. Last week, the UN condemned heavy shelling of the hospital in which at least three civilians were left wounded, calling it a "clear violation of international law." The North African country has so far reported 25 cases of the coronavirus and one death. The attacks, according to Libya's Health Ministry, badly damaged the 400-bed facility.Last month, Human Rights Watch said Libya's healthcare system was "battered by intermittent armed conflicts and political divisions since 2011", warning that it will be unable to cope with large numbers of patients if infections spread. Meanwhile, Libyan authorities announced the release of more than 450 prisoners last week as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country. The detainees were in pre-trial detention or had qualified for conditional release the government said in a statement. Since 2014, Libya has been split with the countries militias skirmishing with each other ever since they liberated the country from Muammar Gaddafi with the help of Nato airstrikes in 2011. However, it evolved into a struggle between Islamists and nationalists, tipping into full-scale war in June when the Islamists suffered heavy defeats in parliamentary elections.

The two rival administrations are led by the GNA leader and Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli and renegade military commander Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA),based in the country's east. Libya has enforced a nationwide curfew from 2pm to 7am, and prohibited intercity travel to curb the spread of the virus. Libya was named among 27 countries that were most vulnerable to emerging outbreaks in the Global Health Security Index report published last month. It is also considered a high-risk country for Covid-19 by the World Health Organization.

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