Three young girls killed by an airstrike in Tripoli

Search for survivors after the airstrike in al-Fernaj neighbourhood, Tripoli Search for survivors after the airstrike in al-Fernaj neighbourhood, Tripoli 2019 Tripoli Ambulance and Emergency Services

Once again, civilians are involved in fighting between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA)

In the al-Fernaj residential neighborhood of Tripoli an airstrike was carried out on 14 October 2019 leaving 3 young girls dead and their mother injured 

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and a GNA-affiliated coalition blamed LNA for this unlawful attack. However, the LNA rejected the accusations:, declaring that the airstrike targeted a “terrorist operation room”. It is not the first time that the LNA denies its involvement in attacks causing civilian casualties.

Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, commented: “There is a dire need for an independent UN investigation to attribute responsibility for these airstrikes and ensure justice for war crimes and compensation for the victims’ families.”

According to the UN, the clashes in the area of Tripoli, the capital held by the GNA, have resulted in at least 100 deaths and 120 thousand displaced since April 2019, when the LNA, under the command of General Khalifa Haftar, has laid siege to Tripoli to conquer  it from Fayez al-Sarraj. Tripoli is the capital of the area under the GNA’s control, and as such it represents a military objective of strategic significance.

Just a few days before the attack on the neighborhood, the Equestrian Club in Tripoli was attacked,  in which six children were reportedly injured. Another strike was carried out in July 2019, targeting the Tajoura migrant detention centre and killing 46 civilians.

UNSMIL strongly condemned the 14 October 2019 attack, calling for immediate cessation of such “reckless disregard for the lives of innocent people” and urged “member states and international relevant institutions to exert all possible efforts and take all necessary measures, to put an end to the repeated blatant violation of international humanitarian and human rights law in Libya”.



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Author: Margherita Liverani

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