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UAE suspected of killing 50 in air strike on Libya migrant detention centre 

November 7, 2019 at 3:02 pm

A view of the migrant shelter targeted by Haftar’s forces in Tripoli, Libya on 3 July 2019 [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

A UN report has found that a foreign air force was behind an air strike on a Libyan migrant detention centre which killed over 50 people, with strong suspicion pointing towards the UAE.

The findings by the UN’s Security Council group of experts concluded that the rocket attack on 2 July on the Tajoura holding centre in Tripoli, killing at least 53 and wounding 130, was likely carried out by a Mirage 2000-9 fighter jet, representing one of the worst single atrocities of the Libyan civil war and a potential war crime.

Although the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), headed by General Khalifa Haftar does not possess such an aircraft, they are used by the air forces of Haftar’s main backers, Egypt and the UAE.

READ: Haftar forces attack airport in Tripoli

The report does not name any nation directly responsible, former British Ambassador to Libya, Peter Millett told the Guardian, “The only two countries with capacity and motive to mount the strike were the UAE and Egypt.”

Most of those killed are believed to have been sub-Saharan Africans attempting to reach Europe via Libya.

According to the BBC, the UN Special Mission in Libya had shared the co-ordinates of migrant centres with both sides in the conflict to prevent them from being hit. The internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) said at the time of the attack, that it had been carried out by a fighter plane from the UAE. The Emirati-backed LNA, initially said it had bombed a legitimate target but later denied being involved.

On Monday, the Libya Observer reported that the High Council of State called on the government to take legal action against countries supporting Haftar, particularly the UAE and to document their crimes at local and international courts.

READ: UAE set to become major Middle East arms producer