TRIPOLI: At least 30 people were killed and 33 others wounded in an attack on a military academy in the Libyan capital late on Saturday, the health ministry of the Tripoli-based government said in a statement on Sunday.
Tripoli, controlled by the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), is facing an offensive by military commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) that began in April.
GNA Health Minister Hamid bin Omar told Reuters earlier in a phone call that the number of dead and wounded was still rising. Tripoli ambulance service spokesman Osama Ali said some body parts could not be immediately counted by forensic experts.
Earlier, the ambulance service appealed for a temporary ceasefire to allow its crews to retrieve the bodies of five civilians killed on As Sidra Road in southern Tripoli and to evacuate families.
Emergency teams withdrew after coming under fire while trying to access the area on Saturday, it said.
The GNA Foreign Ministry called for referring Haftar and his aides to the International Criminal Court on charges of committing “crimes against humanity”, adding that it will call for an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss the alleged crimes.
Qatar, which supports GNA, said on Saturday that the attack “may amount to a war crime and crimes against humanity”.
Ankara, which last week passed a bill approving a troop deployment in Libya to support Tripoli, also condemned the attack and said the international community needs to take steps to achieve a ceasefire.
“It is crucial for the international community to urgently take necessary steps to halt external support for the pro-Haftar army and its attacks and establish a ceasefire in Libya,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemned the attack saying that “rising escalation… further complicates the situation in Libya and threatens the chances of returning to the political process”.