An airstrike has hit a migrant detention center for mainly Africans in a suburb of the Libyan capital of Tripoli, killing at least 40 people and wounding 80, a health official said.
It is the highest publicly reported toll of an airstrike or shelling since eastern forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive three months ago with ground troops and aircraft to take the capital held by the internationally recognized government.
The conflict is part of ongoing chaos in the oil-and-gas-producing nation since the Nato-backed overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Malek Mersek, spokesman for state emergency medical services, said 40 people had been killed and 80 wounded in the strike on the detention center in the Tajoura suburb located next to a military camp.
Osama Ali, a spokesman for the emergency services, told AFP that 120 migrants had been in a hangar which was directly hit by the strike in Tajoura. He added that more people may have been killed because the death toll so far was “a preliminary assessment”.
The Tripoli-based government said in a statement that dozens of people had been killed and wounded in an airstrike blamed on the “war criminal Khalifa Haftar.” A spokesman for Haftar forces did not immediately answer phone calls and messages seeking comment.