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UN says 120 killed since fighting broke out in Libya

In this photo provided by Egypt's presidency media office, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, right, meets with the head of the self-styled Libyan National Army Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, April 14, 2019. Hifter launched a surprise offensive against Tripoli on April 5 and is battling rival militias loosely affiliated with a weak U.N.-backed government. (Egyptian Presidency Media office via AP)

CAIRO (AP) — More than 120 people have been killed since a Libyan military commander launched an assault on the capital 10 days ago, igniting clashes with rival militias, the U.N. health agency said Sunday.

The self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, launched a surprise offensive against Tripoli on April 5 and is battling rival militias loosely affiliated with a weak U.N.-backed government.

The World Health Organization said 121 people have been killed in the fighting and another 561 have been wounded. It did not specify whether they were fighters or civilians.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said more than 13,500 people have been displaced, and that “significant numbers of civilians” remain stuck in areas where the fighting has escalated.

U.N. envoy Ghassan Salame said a school was bombed in the town of Ain Zara, around 15 kilometers (9 miles) southeast of Tripoli, without saying who was responsible. Both sides have carried our airstrikes in the town, and a spokesman for the Libyan National Army said it has stepped up airstrikes on its rivals in the past two days.

Hifter has vowed to unify the country after years of chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. He has led previous campaigns against Islamic militants and other rivals in eastern Libya, and has received support from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia and France.

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi met with Hifter in Cairo on Sunday, the presidency said, without providing further details.

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