Air strike kills at least 40 migrants in Tripoli detention centre | Eurasia Diary -

12 November, Tuesday

Air strike kills at least 40 migrants in Tripoli detention centre

An air strike has hit a detention centre for migrants in the Libyan capital, killing at least 40 people, a health official in the country's UN-supported government said.

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The air strike targeting the centre in Tripoli's Tajoura neighbourhood on Wednesday (local time) also wounded 80 migrants, said Malek Merset, a spokesman for the Health Ministry. Merset posted photos of migrants who were being taken in ambulances to hospitals.

Footage circulating online and said to be from inside the centre, which houses 616 migrants and refugees, showed blood and body parts mixed with rubble and migrants' belongings.

The UN refugee agency in Libya condemned the air strike.

The Tripoli-based government blamed the self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Khalifa Hifter, for the strike and called for the UN support mission in Libya to establish a fact-finding committee to investigate.
A spokesman for Hifter's forces did not immediately answer phone calls and messages seeking comment. Local media reported LNA had launched air strikes against a militia camp near the detention centre.
The LNA launched an offensive against the weak Tripoli-based government in April. Hifter's forces control much of the country's east and south but were dealt a significant blow last week when militias allied with the Tripoli government reclaimed the strategic town of Gharyan, about 100 kilometres from the capital. Gharyan had been a key supply route for the LNA forces.
Many camps for militias loosely allied with the UN-supported government are in Tajoura, and Hifter forces have targeted such camps with air strikes in the past weeks. The LNA said on Monday it had begun an air campaign on rival forces in Tripoli after it lost control of Gharyan.

The fighting for Tripoli has threatened to plunge Libya into another bout of violence on the scale of the 2011 conflict that ousted longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi and led to his death.

Hifter says he is determined to restore stability to the North African country. He is backed by Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia while his rivals, mainly Islamists, in Tripoli are supported by Turkey and Qatar.

His campaign against Islamic militants across Libya since 2014 won him growing international support from world leaders who say they are concerned that Libya has turned into a haven for armed groups, and a major conduit for migrants bound for Europe.

His opponents however view him as an aspiring autocrat and fear a return to one-man rule.

At least 6000 migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and other nations are locked in dozens of detention facilities in Libya that are run by militias accused of torture and other human rights abuses. Most of the migrants were apprehended by European Union-funded and trained Libyan coast guards while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.

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