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Iran Press TV

Haftar's airstrike in southern Libya kills 43, injures dozens

Iran Press TV

Mon Aug 5, 2019 05:47PM

Dozens of people have been killed in a drone strike carried out by forces loyal to Libyan renegade general Khalifa Haftar in the southwestern part of the African country, local officials say.

The internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) said on Monday that at least 43 people had lost their lives as a result of the drone attack on the southern town of Murzuq.

Mohamed Omar, a Murzuq municipal council member, told Reuters that "the air strike resulted in 43 killed and 51 wounded. This is only an initial toll of casualties."

Another council official put the number of fatalities at 42 and said more than 60 were injured, 30 of them critically.

Forces loyal to the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Haftar - who are based in eastern Libya - claimed responsibility for the attack on the town but denied targeting any civilians.

Condemning the attack by Haftar's forces on social media, the GNA called on the United Nations to "carry out an investigation into the crimes committed by Haftar's militias in Murzuq."

The attack is the second major one carried out by LNA forces after at least 44 migrants were killed last month in an air raid on a detention center on the outskirts of the capital, Tripoli.

Heading a group of militia, Haftar launched an offensive on Tripoli on April 4 to wrest control of the capital, but his armed groups failed to breach the southern defenses of the city.

Since then, the fighting has left at least 1,000 people dead, more than 5,750 wounded, and over 100,000 people displaced, according to the United Nations World Health Organization.

Haftar's offensive has upended UN-led plans to stabilize Libya after years of conflict that has left the oil-rich nation divided and caused living standards to plummet.

The renegade general has defied a truce call by the UN, ordering his militia not to relent in their offensive.

In his offensive, Haftar is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. France also offers him some political support.

Libya plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi and his execution by unruly fighters.

His ouster created a huge power vacuum, leading to chaos and the emergence of numerous militant outfits, including the Daesh terrorist group.

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