Libya crisis: UN appeal for truce to evacuate wounded

TRIPOLI The UN has urged rival forces fighting near the Libyan capital to halt fighting for two hours so casualties and civilians can be evacuated.

The UN said hostilities should cease at 16:00 local time to allow access for the emergency services.

Rebel forces under Gen Khalifa Haftar have advanced from the east with the aim of taking the capital, Tripoli.

The UN-backed prime minister has accused him of attempting a coup and says rebels will be met with force.

International powers have also begun evacuating personnel from Libya amid the worsening security situation.

US Africa Command, responsible for US military operations and liaison in Africa, said that due to the increased unrest it had relocated a contingent of US forces temporarily.

India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said its full contingent of 15 Central Reserve Police Force peacekeepers had been evacuated from Tripoli because the situation in Libya has suddenly worsened.

The Italian multinational oil and gas company, Eni, decided to evacuate all its Italian personnel from the country.

The UN is also due to pull out non-essential staff.

Libya has been wracked by unrest since the overthrow of Col Gaddafi. Dozens of militias operating in the country.