Nearly 1,000 dead in three-month fight for Libya’s Tripoli
Almost 1,000 people have been killed since Libyan renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar launched a push three months ago to capture the capital, Tripoli, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
The figure announced on Friday included at least 60 detained migrants who died in a devastating air attack on a detention centre in the Tripoli suburb of Tajoura on Tuesday night.
Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which holds eastern Libya and much of the country’s south, launched an offensive in early April to wrestle the capital from forces loyal to the United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).
Air attacks and ground fighting have since left nearly 1,000 people dead and some 5,000 wounded, the WHO said, without specifying the breakdown between civilians and fighters.
The fighting has forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes in a country mired by a bloody power struggle between militias since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
— World Health Organization in Libya (@WHOLIBYA) July 5, 2019
The GNA has accused Haftar’s forces of carrying out the attack on the migrant detention centre.
The LNA denied the accusation, saying it had targeted a nearby militia’s position but did not hit the hangar.
A Geneva-based spokesman for the International Organization for Migration said six children were among those killed.
Joel Millman said “350 migrants, including 20 women and four children”, were still detained at the centre, one of five air hangars hit in the raid. The UN reported that guards shot at migrants as they tried to escape the bombing, a claim security personnel deny.