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2 July 2019 Airstrike kills at least 44 people in a migrants’ detention centre in Tripoli

On 2 July, an air raid killed at least 44 people and wounded other 100 in a Libyan detention centre for illegal migrants in the Tripoli’s suburb of Tajoura, according to emergency and health officials. The strike hit just a part of the building, which hosts more than 600 people from countries like Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia. The UN-recognized Government of National Accord accused General Khalifa Haftar to be responsible for the attack, but Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) denied to have targeted the centre. Tajoura hosts several military bases and, on Monday, LNA’s spokesperson announced airstrikes on targets over Tripoli after “traditional means of war had been exhausted”. UNHCR expressed its concern about the situation declaring that “civilians should never be a target”.

The UN’s mission in Libya warned that around 3500 migrants and refugees are living in detention centres near the combat zone. The Italian Ministry of International Cooperation and Foreign Affairs denounced the attack, declaring that “it is necessary to immediately assure measures to seriously protect civilians and, in particular, transfer the migrants hosted in reception facilities to safe places away from the fighting and under the protection of the UN”. HR/VP Federica Mogherini and Commissioners Johannes Hahn and Dimitris Avramopoulos published a Joint Statement denouncing that: “The shocking and tragic attack on a detention centre in Tripoli is a reminder of the human cost of the conflict in Libya […] This attack also shows up once again the need for a ceasefire in the Libyan conflict. The EU will continue to lend its fullest support to the UN”.