By Sami Zaptia.
London, 14 October 2019:
The internationally recognized Libyan government led by Faiez Serraj based in Tripoli today condemned in the strongest terms this morning’s airstrike of central Tripoli’s residential area of Furnaj. The strike killed a number of civilians, including children and women the statement said.
Faiez Serraj visited the site and paid his condolences to the bereaved family.
The statement said that this ‘‘criminal act’’ by the ‘‘war criminal’’ (Khalifa Hafter) adds to a series of attacks on civilian sites that has led to the death of civilians that infringe international charters and laws. These attacks reflect Hafter and his militias’ failure to occupy Tripoli, it added.
It also added that the failure of the international community to hold a decisive position to deter Hafter and his militias further encourages them to continue their actions.
The statement said that it holds UNSMIL responsible and calls on it to protect civilians and call on all international organizations to document these crimes for future legal action.
Meanwhile, UNSMIL, for its part, said it was ‘‘shocked’’ by this attack on a civilian populated area. It said that ‘‘Once again, innocent children pay the ultimate price. An attack today ended, in the most horrible way, the lives of three innocent young girls of the same family, burying them under the rubble of a house razed by an airstrike in the al-Fernaj neighbourhood in Tripoli. Another young girl of the same family and the mother were injured in the airstrike, which was reportedly conducted by a fighter jet belonging to “LNA” forces’’.
‘‘Shocked by this attack, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemns in the strongest possible terms the reckless disregard for the lives of innocent people and calls for the immediate cessation of such indiscriminate attacks. It is particularly egregious that the attack comes a few days after the attack on the Equestrian Club in Tripoli which also injured a number of children.’’, it added
UNSMIL further reaffirmed that it ‘‘will not stand idly by and watch war crimes being committed, and innocent lives being lost, almost every day. It urges 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’’.
On the other hand, the Hafter-led Libyan National Army (LNA) denied responsibility for the death of civilians at Furnaj. They insisted they struck a military target – an operations room – in Furnaj.
It added that the pro-Tripoli forces were attempting to taint the LNA, as they had previously attempted with the Janzur airstrike.
It insisted that it was very precise with its airstrikes.