Up to 150 people have died in a large shipwreck off the coast of Libya, according to the UN’s refugee agency. A further 150 were rescued by coastguards and local fishers and are being returned to Libya, UNHCR added. A top UN official described the shipwreck as “the worst Mediterranean tragedy” so far this year. Libya is a hub for refugees, many of whom try to reach Europe in unseaworthy boats.
An air strike hit a detention center for mainly African migrants in a suburb of the Libyan capital Tripoli late on Tuesday, killing at least 44 people and wounding more than 130, the U.N. mission to Libya said. It was the highest publicly reported toll from an air strike or shelling since eastern forces under Khalifa Haftar launched a ground and aerial offensive three months ago to take Tripoli, the base of Libya’s internationally recognized government.
Tripoli’s only working airport was targeted in an airstrike on Monday, as forces loyal to renegade Libyan general Khalifa Haftar continued their advance on the capital, ignoring international calls for a truce. Mitiga airport, in the eastern quarter of Tripoli, was shuttered after it was attacked by Haftar’s so-called Libyan National Army (LNA). Libya’s United Nations-backed government, the Government of National Accord (GNA), quickly condemned the aerial bombardment, calling it a war crime. Years of fighting among various militias in the war-torn country have reached a crescendo in recent days, as Haftar pushes to take control of the capital.
After years of sabre-rattling, eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar ordered his troops on Thursday to march on the capital Tripoli, escalating a conflict with the internationally recognized government. The offensive marked a dramatic escalation of a power struggle that has dragged on in Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The capital is the ultimate prize for Haftar’s eastern parallel government. In 2014 he assembled former Gaddafi soldiers and in a three-year battle seized the main eastern city of Benghazi, then this year took the south with its oilfields.
Nearly 400 prisoners escaped from a jail near Tripoli, Libya on Sunday amid riots between militia groups. Guards were unable to prevent the escapes. Most detainees at the prison were convicted of common crimes or incarcerated for supporting former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. At least 39 people have been killed in the clashes since last Monday.
Suicide bombers stormed Libya’s electoral commission in Tripoli on Wednesday, killing at least 12 and leaving 7 others wounded. The Libyan electoral commission director Emad al-Sayah said, ‘the choice and future of Libyans were targeted.’ The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the dispatched two fighters to ‘target the apostate ballot stations.’