Libya airstrike hits migrant detention center in Tripoli, killing scores
July 03, 2019
An airstrike hit a detention center for migrants in the Libyan capital early Wednesday, killing more than 40 people, the United Nations said. The airstrike targeting the detention center in Tripoli's Tajoura neighborhood also wounded 80 migrants, said Malek Merset, a Libyan Health Ministry spokesman. Merset posted photos of migrants 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 U.N. refugee agency in Libya condemned the airstrike on the detention center, which houses 616 migrants and refugees.
The Tripoli-based government blamed the self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Khalifa Haftar, for the airstrike and called for the U.N. support mission in Libya to establish a fact-finding committee to investigate.
A spokesman for Haftar's forces did not immediately answer phone calls and messages seeking comment. Local media reported the LNA had launched airstrikes against a militia camp near the detention center.
International medical aid group Doctors Without Borders condemned the strike as "a horrific tragedy that could have easily been avoided," and chastized European nations for helping Libyan coast guard forces stop the migrants crossing the Mediterranean in boats and returning them to the notorious detention centers in the war-torn country.
"Our teams visited the center earlier yesterday and saw 126 people in the cell that was hit. Those that survived are in absolute fear for their lives," the group, which goes by its French language acronym MSF, said in a statement on Wednesday. "What is needed now is not empty condemnation but the urgent and immediate evacuation from Libya of all refugees and migrants held in detention centers... The reality is that for every person evacuated or resettled this year, more than twice as many have been forcibly returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard with support from the European Union."
Read more: CBS News