Mainly children and women among those killed in the air raid in southern Libya | News

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At least 16 people, mostly children, have died in two air strikes within 72 hours in southern Libya, authorities said, as the government recognized by the United Nations blamed the forces loyal to the renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar for the attack.

The Government of the National Agreement (GNA) based in the capital of Libya, Tripoli, said at least five children were killed and 10 others injured Sunday during an airstrike in al-Swani, a residential area south of Tripoli.

The deaths occurred shortly after nine children and two women died in drone attacks in the southern city of Murzuq.

"These actions amount to war crimes," the GNA interior ministry said Monday.

He asked the international community to "assume responsibility for (stop) these criminal acts that attack and terrorize civilians."

The internationally recognized government of Libya has repeatedly blamed the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for supporting Haftar forces, while the Gulf country has denied the accusations.

Libya, a major oil producer, plunged into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising overthrew the lifelong leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Now it is divided between two rival administrations: the GNA led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and the Haftar Allied House of Representatives.

In an attempt to capture Tripoli, the capital has been attacked since April by forces loyal to Haftar.

With the fight for Tripoli stalled on the ground after the initial advances of the Libyan National Army of Haftar (LNA), the two sides have increasingly taken their fight to the skies with fighter planes and drones.

In November, at least 10 people died and 35 were injured in an air strike that hit a biscuit factory in Wadi Rabea, 13 miles from downtown Tripoli.

The victims were mostly migrants, while at least two were Libyans, the United Nations envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, told the UN Security Council.

The GNA blamed the attack on the LNA, which then issued a statement on combat operations that did not comment on the air attack.

The World Health Organization says that the battle for Tripoli left almost 1,100 people dead and injured more than 5,750, while forcing more than 100,000 civilians to flee their homes.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies