LAA Statement on COVID-19 and Continued LNA Attacks on Tripoli

March 23, 2020
Washington, DC

As COVID-19 cases continue to spread across the world, including around Libya’s borders, the Libyan American Alliance would like to highlight the counterproductive efforts to this global threat undertaken by Haftar and to condemn the danger of Khalifa Haftar’s offensive on Tripoli, which continues to undermine public health and safety in Libya.

Despite repeated requests from the US Department of State and other international actors that Haftar’s forces observe cessation of hostilities in Libya on Saturday, his so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) launched today another artillery attack on civilians in Ain Zara, Southern Tripoli. This attack caused the death of Ms. Lutfia Abd-Alkhadr Belrashed, 42, Ms. Samar Abduljalil Alshredde, 20, and Mr. Salem Fraj Al-Samah, 55, increasing the fatality rate of LNA attacks to eight civilian deaths within the past five days. 

Today’s attack follows repeated targeting of civilian homes and facilities, including Mitiga International Airport—the only access point for humanitarian aid. These repeated acts continue to put millions of lives at risk, including those of healthcare workers. As Libya’s already fragile healthcare system braces for the full impact of COVID-19, the LNA’s attacks on Tripoli’s civilian institutions are unjustifiable and intensify an already overwhelming global pandemic. 

Imposing strict enforcement actions on hostile parties is the only way to empower peace and enable Libyan authorities to peacefully combat the COVID-19 global pandemic, increase Libyan preparedness, and address the immediate humanitarian needs of those most vulnerable in conflict areas. 

In accordance with Executive Order 13566, we urge US agencies to take all possible legal action against those who are committing war crimes and threatening the peace, security, and stability of Libya, including Khalifa Haftar and his associates. 

The world must join together as one to defeat this pervasive global health threat and to focus all national and non-state efforts, accordingly. The Libyan American Alliance stands by to assist all Libyan citizens, regardless of where they reside, in accessing services and information regarding the COVID-19 international response, as coordinated by the World Health Organization.