Mon. 8:54 a.m.: Libyan officials: Airstrike kills 7 workers in Tripoli
CAIRO (AP) — An airstrike slammed into a biscuit factory in the capital, Tripoli, today killing at least seven workers including five foreign nationals and two Libyans, health authorities said.
Tripoli has been the scene of fighting since April between the self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, and an array of militias loosely allied with the U.N.-supported but weak government which holds the capital.
The Tripoli-based health ministry said the airstrike took place in the capital’s Wadi el-Rabie neighborhood, the south of the city center where fighting has been raging for months.
Malek Merset, a spokesman with the ministry, told The Associated Press that the dead included five workers from Bangladesh, and two Libyan nationals.
The airstrike also wounded at least 15 foreign workers, mostly from Niger and Bangladesh, who were taken to nearby hospitals for urgent treatment.
Footage shared online showed wounded people with bandages and blood on their legs on stretchers before being taken by ambulances to hospitals.
Fighting for Tripoli has stalled in recent months, with both sides dug in and shelling one another along the city’s southern reaches. The months of combat have killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands.
The fighting threatens to plunge Libya into another bout of violence on the scale of the 2011 conflict that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Libya has been divided into rival governments, with Tripoli controlling parts of the country’s west, and a rival government in the east aligned with Hifter’s force. Each side is backed by an array of militias and armed groups fighting over resources and territory.