UN investigating possible war crime after 10 killed, 35 wounded during airstrike in Libya
Tripoli (dpa) – Ten people were killed and 35 wounded when an airstrike hit a factory in southern Tripoli on Monday, the Libyan capital’s emergency services spokesman said.
Those injured were transferred to two hospitals nearby, Osama Ali, spokesman for the emergency and ambulance services in Tripoli, told dpa.
The factory, which makes biscuits, is located in the Wadi al-Rabei area.
Health Ministry spokesman Amin al-Hashemi said seven, including two Libyans, were killed in the airstrike, adding that he expects the death toll to rise.
Al-Hashemi said those injured include people from Egypt, Bangladesh and Nigeria.
Rescue workers had to stop their search operations “temporarily as there were planes still flying over the area,” Ali said.
The teams are expected to continue their work recovering bodies from under the rubble after the area is secured, he added.
The United Nations’ envoy to Libya said the strike could amount to a war crime.
“Regardless of whether the attack deliberately targeted the factory or was an indiscriminate attack, it may constitute a war crime,” Ghassan Salame told the UN Security Council on Monday.
He said the UN is working to verify the facts and warned of the consequences of “foreign interference” in the conflict.
A confidential UN report, seen by dpa earlier this month, said Turkey, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have “blatantly” violated the arms embargo on the war-torn country.
Notably, Turkey has been accused of backing the Tripoli-based government, and the UAE and Jordan of supporting military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
The Tripoli government has previously blamed the eastern forces seeking to take control of the country led by Haftar of carrying out airstrikes that killed civilians in the capital.
Haftar, who already controls much of eastern Libya and some parts in the south, ordered his forces in April to capture Tripoli from the rival UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
The fighting has since reached a stalemate and displaced thousands of civilians.
Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) has repeatedly denied its forces target civilians and insists that it hit terrorist groups.
On Friday, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said they had carried out “precise” ground and air attacks targeting three trucks carrying ammunition, criminals and terrorists in Wadi al-Rabei, where the biscuit factory is located.
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