Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, said he was “deeply concerned” by fighting and wants a truce to be called to an offensive movement by Khalifa Haftar. According to the BBC, Libya’s prime minister Faye al-Serraj believes Haftar and his rebels are attempting to take over the capital. He warned them they would be met with force as fighting between the sparring leaders continued to escalate.
In a statement, Mr Pompeo said: “We have made clear that we oppose the military offensive by Khalifa Haftar’s forces and urge the immediate halt to these military operations against the Libyan capital.
“The United States continues to press Libyan leaders, together with our international partners, to return to political negotiations mediated by UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ghassan Salame.”
Before the death toll had increased, the UN had ordered a two-hour break in fighting to allow for casualties and civilians to be evacuated.
But reports suggest the fighting instead continued.
Libya has been in turmoil for decades and since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011 by rebels, the country has been lawless.
On that occasion, the rebels were backed by NATO, which carried out its own airstrikes on the African nation.
The state has become a transit point for thousands of migrants hoping to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.
Haftar is backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and supported by their military.
Reports say that among the dead were a doctor.
The UN is said it was “still hoping for a positive response”.
Talks have been tabled between the two fighting sides for April 14 and will last for two days.
They will be held in the Libyan city of Ghadames.