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Iran Press TV

Libyan tribes sue rebel commander at ICC over civilian massacre

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 04 August 2020 6:27 PM

Libyan tribes have filed a lawsuit with the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the massacre of civilians by rebel militia led by military strongman Khalifa Haftar and Emirati fighter jets in southern Libya last year.

Libya's Toubou tribes announced the filing of the lawsuit in a statement on Tuesday, saying they sought to "punish criminals and terrorists who committed the massacre of bombing a residential neighborhood in the city of Murzuq."

At least 40 people lost their lives and dozens of others sustained injuries in the airstrike by rebel forces under Haftar's command in Murzuq on August 4, 2019.

"The painful massacre that was committed intentionally against the Toubou tribes in Murzuq by Haftar's militias were carried out by warplanes belonging to the United Arab Emirates," tribal leader Issa Abdel-Majid Mansour said.

The non-Arab Toubou tribes, residing in southern Libya, are among the ethnic minorities in the North African country and have expressed support for the internationally-recognized government in the capital, Tripoli.

Libya has been beset by chaos since the overthrow of ex-dictator Muammar Gaddafi and a NATO military intervention in 2011.

Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged, namely the internationally-recognized Libyan government headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli, and another group based in the eastern city of Tobruk and supported militarily by Haftar's rebels.

The rebels – who are backed by the UAE, Russia, and Egypt – launched an offensive to seize the capital and unseat Sarraj's government in April 2019. But the government launched a counter-offensive and has recently managed to reverse many of their gains both around the capital and elsewhere in the country with crucial help from Turkey.

The Turkish military has been providing air cover, weapons, and proxy militia from Syria to help the Libyan government.

Haftar's rebels claim attack on government, Turkish forces

In another development on Tuesday, media sources in eastern Libya claimed that Haftar's rebel forces had carried out airstrikes and inflicted "very serious damage" on the positions of the Tripoli-based government and Turkish forces.

The sources claimed that the rebels' warplanes had targeted Misrata International Airport in the northern city of the same name.

The sources claimed that the attacks had targeted Turkish helicopters, drone hangars, and a military cargo plane carrying weapons from Turkey to Libya.

The Libyan government confirmed the attacks, saying they had been carried out from an unknown location, most likely a distant one.

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