International condemnation mounted yesterday after more than 40 migrants were killed in an air strike on a detention centre in Libya that the United Nations said could constitute a war crime.
As at press time, the UN Security Council was set to hold urgent talks about the situation in the North African country following what the European Union called a “horrific” attack that the UN-recognised government blamed on strongman Khalifa Haftar.
Bodies were strewn on the floor of a hangar in the Tripoli suburb of Tajoura, mixed with the belongings and blood-soaked clothes of migrants, an AFP photographer said.
“There were bodies, blood and pieces of flesh everywhere,” a survivor, 26-year-old Al-Mahdi Hafyan from Morocco, told AFP from his hospital bed where he was being treated for a leg wound.
Tuesday night’s strike left a hole around three metres (10 feet) in diameter at the centre of the hangar, surrounded by debris ripped from the metal structure by the force of the blast.
At least 44 people were killed and more than 130 severely injured, the UN said.
“This attack clearly could constitute a war crime, as it killed by surprise innocent people whose dire conditions forced them to be in that shelter,” UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame said.