Two Libyan doctors who worked in field hospitals near the coastal city of Sirte were killed when the Libyan National Army targeted the medical facilities in a series of airstrikes, according to activist messages on Twitter and local media reports . The airstrikes mark the first time that forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government launched attacks on medical personnel and humanitarian workers, a crime punishable under international law.
The Libyan National Army, the entity accused of launching airstrikes Sunday on the hospital where the doctors worked, is led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, a former rogue military leader who has been fighting Islamists in Libya and is now working with Libya's government.
#Libya: Two physicians reported killed and 7 other people injured by an airstrike near a field hospital at Bin Jawad (near Sidra)
â€” James Wheeler (@wheelertweets) December 28, 2014
For months, Libya has been embroiled in the deadliest fighting since 2011. Intense clashes are taking place in Misrata, Benghazi, Tripoli and Tobruk, the city where the internationally recognized government is based. An Islamist group known as the Libya Dawn took control of Tripoli in August and set up a rival government, forcing the internationally recognized government to flee.
On Tuesday activists on social media said a bomb-laden car parked in front of the parliament building in Tobruk exploded. Last week in Misrata, government forces launched a series of airstrikes on opposition militias based there.
But the most damaging fighting is taking place near the city of Sirte. The Libyan National Army said Tuesday that it attacked the Gardabiya airbase about nine miles south of Sirte in retaliation for an airstrike launched by Libya Dawn near the port of al-Sidra. That port and the one at Ras Lanuf -- both located just east of Sirte and under control of the internationally recognized government -- are experiencing active clashes. Two oil tanks at the port in al-Sidra are on fire because of clashes, and Reuters reported Tuesday that at least 1.2 million barrels of oil had been destroyed.
The two doctors, both killed Dec. 28, were working in a field hospital about 15 miles away from active ground battle, currently held by Libya Dawm, when the airstrikes landed. The field hospital was targeted three times in just a few days, sources on the ground said.
— The Libya Observer (@Lyobserver) December 28, 2014
Families fleeing Bin Jawad after Fajr Libya entered the city & using it as a base to attack oil ports & installations pic.twitter.com/LuJ05Z0yra
â€” بنغازي ✌ ✰☾ (@LIBYA_BREAKNEWS) December 18, 2014