x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Tripoli running short of fuel and medicine

UN mission finds city normal despite 'pockets of vulnerability'.

TRIPOLI // Libya's capital is wracked by shortages of medicine, fuel and cash despite "aspects of normalcy", UN fact-finders said, as the top US military officer deemed Nato's air campaign at a "stalemate".

Nato, meanwhile, said yesterday it had "no evidence" that civilian facilities were hit in air raids near Zliten east of Tripoli after the Libyan regime accused the alliance of destroying a clinic there and killing seven people.

Laurence Hart, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Libya, said late on Monday that the week-long fact-finding UN mission to Libya had identified a number of problems besetting Col Muammar Qaddafi's regime, which has been battling rebels seeking to remove the veteran leader for the past five months.

"Although the mission observed aspects of normalcy in Tripoli, members identified pockets of vulnerability where people need urgent humanitarian assistance," Mr Hart said.

A Nato official said that alliance warplanes struck military targets near Zliten on Monday, but there was no immediate confirmation that a clinic had also been hit.

Foreign reporters were given a tour by government minders of Zliten during which they were shown what they were told was the remains of a clinic hit by a Nato bomb. A local official said seven people were killed in the attack.

The journalists saw a destroyed building with a crescent sign at its entrance and the ground littered with surgical gloves, oxygen bottles, pharmaceuticals and stretchers, but no victims.