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Five doctors killed in attack on field hospital near Tripoli: Health ministry

Internationally recognised government says Khalifa Haftar's forces were behind the strike south of Libya's capital
Haftar launched his offensive in early April but the LNA's advance has become bogged down on the capital's outskirts (AFP - File pic)

Five doctors were killed and at least eight medical personnel injured late on Saturday in an air strike on a field hospital south of Tripoli run by the internationally recognised government, a health ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

"The field hospital located on the airport road [southern Tripoli] was hit by an air raid," said Lamine al-Hashemi.

"Five doctors were killed and seven other people, including rescuers, [were] wounded" in Saturday's attack that al-Hashemi said was carried out by "a Haftar warplane".

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"It was a direct hit against the hospital which was packed with medical teams," Hashemi added.

The eastern Libyan National Army (LNA) under Khalifa Haftar has been trying to take Tripoli from forces allied to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

Haftar, who is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, France and Russia, launched the offensive in early April but the LNA's advance has become bogged down on the capital's outskirts.

The GNA released a statement condemning the incident and accused Haftar's LNA forces of perpetrating the strike. 

LNA forces were not immedately available for comment, the Reuters news agency reported.

The hospital provides medical assistance to forces allied to the GNA, hospital spokesman Malek Merset told Reuters.

Third target

The attack was the third to target a hospital south of the capital, the AFP news agency reported.

On 16 July, three doctors and a paramedic were wounded in a strike on the Swani hospital near the capital, the second time it was targeted.

The World Health Organisation and rights groups have repeatedly called on both sides in the conflict to spare medical personnel, clinics and hospitals.

The fighting since April has left nearly 1,100 people dead and wounded more than 5,750, according to the WHO. More than 100,000 civilians have fled their homes.

Libya has been riven by violence since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.