Tripoli: The casualty toll of an air strike on a detention camp for migrants near the Libyan capital has climbed to 53 dead and 130 wounded, the World Health Organization said Friday.
The UN agency said the deaths in Tuesday night’s strike had raised to almost 1,000 dead and 5,000 wounded the overall toll of an assault on the Libyan capital launched by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in April.
The GNA accused pro-Haftar forces of having carried out a “premeditated” and “precise” attack on the migrant centre.
No one has so far claimed responsibility but pro-Haftar media reported Tuesday night a “series of air raids” in Tripoli and Tajoura.
The suburb of Tajoura, which has several military sites belonging to pro-GNA armed groups, is regularly targeted in air raids by Khalifa’s forces.
– Migrants ‘at risk’ –
The UN refugee agency said it was “extremely concerned” at reports of the strikes on the migrant centre.
“UNHCR is extremely concerned about news of air strikes targeting Tajoura detention centre east of Tripoli, and accounts of refugees and migrants deceased,” it tweeted.
“Civilians should never be a target.”
Libya, wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising against dictator Moamer Kadhafi, has become a major conduit for migrants seeking to reach Europe.
Rights groups say migrants face horrifying abuses in the North African country, which remains prey to a multitude of militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.
The plight of migrants has worsened since Haftar launched an offensive against Tripoli — the seat of an internationally recognised unity government — in early April.
Since then, fighting has killed more than 700 and wounded 4,000, while nearly 100,000 have been displaced, according to UN agencies.