Tripoli beachgoers killed by shelling

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 04, 2017 7:21 PM

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Five people including at least one child were killed late on Tuesday when a shell landed on a beach near Mitiga airport in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, the health ministry said.

At least 18 people were injured, according to reports from Tripoli hospitals.

"The casualties are the result of clashes on Tuesday between a security force and outlaws who fired a shell that fell on a beach in front of Mitiga airport," Abdulsalam Ashour, a deputy interior minister in Libya's U.N.-backed government, told Libya Al-Ahrar TV channel.

Fighting resumed on Wednesday morning, causing the suspension of flights at Mitiga.

Some reports said the shell was fired during a revenge attack against members of one of the capital's many armed factions.

Pictures posted on social media showed plastic furniture strewn on the sand under strings of outdoor lights.

Tripoli is home to a patchwork of armed groups, some of which share control of Mitiga and the surrounding area. They occasionally clash in turf wars over the control of smuggling businesses and localized disputes.

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The beach lies across the other side of a coastal road from the airport in central Tripoli. It is popular with families trying to escape the heat on summer evenings.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Catherine Evans)