March 30, 2015 / 12:42 PM / 3 years ago

Western Libya rocket strike kills Filipino, wounds eight people: official

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - A Filipino was killed and eight people were wounded when a rocket hit the western Libyan town of Zawiya, a Libyan official said on Monday.

A source with the forces allied to Libya’s internationally-recognized government, based in eastern Libya, denied claims by officials in Tripoli -- which is controlled by a rival administration -- that the eastern forces had fired a Grad rocket in the direction of Zawiya or a refinery.

Libya is mired in a conflict between the two governments, allied to rival factions fighting for control of the oil producer four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

Mohamed Khadrawi, mayor of Zawiya, a town west of Tripoli, said the wounded included three Filipinos, one African national and four Libyans.

He said a Grad rocket landed near a car the foreign workers had been traveling in to get home after work late on Sunday.

The Zawiya region has seen fighting between rival factions since the official government said a week ago it had launched a military offensive to “liberate” Tripoli using allied tribesmen from western Libya.

Libya’s official prime minister, Abdullah al-Thinni, working with his cabinet out of the east since losing control of Tripoli in August, told al-Arabiya television his forces were only 24 km (15 miles) west of Tripoli.

He said the situation in Yemen, where warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies have been attacking Shi‘ite Muslim rebels fighting to oust Yemen’s president, was comparable to Libya.

“But the international community has not realized that,” he said. “We’ve demanded from the beginning a military intervention.”

Each side has attacked the other with warplanes. In September, a Grad rocket hit a storage tank of the 120,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Zawiya, which supplies Tripoli and western Libya with petrol.

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami, Mostapha Hashem and Ahmed Tolba; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Roche

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