Airstrike Kills Dozens at Migrant Detention Center in Libya

Tripoli government blames rebel forces
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 3, 2019 12:03 AM CDT
Airstrike Kills Dozens at Migrant Detention Center in Libya
Workers gather at a detention center after an airstrike in Tajoura, east of Tripoli Wednesday, July 3, 2019.   (AP Photo/Hazem Ahmed)

An airstrike hit a detention center for migrants early Wednesday in the Libyan capital, killing at least 40 people, a health official in the country's UN-supported government said. The airstrike targeting the detention center in Tripoli's Tajoura neighborhood 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 migrant detention center showed blood and body parts mixed with rubble and migrants' belongings. The UN refugee agency in Libya condemned the airstrike on the detention center, which houses 616 migrants and refugees, the AP reports.

The Tripoli-based government blamed the self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Khalifa Hifter, for the airstrike and called for the UN support mission in Libya to establish a fact-finding committee to investigate. Local media reported that the LNA had launched airstrikes against a militia camp near the detention center. 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 62 miles from the capital. 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.

(More Libya stories.)

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