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Libya: at least two dead in drone strikes

Libya: at least two dead in drone strikes
photo taken Monday, Feb. 15, 2016 a drone flies above the   -  
Copyright © africanews
Denis Farrell/AP


At least two people were killed and several others wounded on Sunday in air strikes carried out by the Libyan government on the outskirts of Zawiya (west) as part of an operation launched, officially, against traffickers' positions, according to local media and an elected official from the town.

"Drone air strikes targeted sites in the port of al-Maya near Zawiya for the second consecutive day," the Libya al-Ahrar channel reported on Sunday evening, publishing a video of a boat on fire in the port surrounded by a thick column of black smoke.

"My nephew Mohamad Bouzrebah was hit in the raid on al-Maya," lamented MP Ali Bouzrebah, who was elected in the town of Zawiya, 45 km west of Tripoli, on his Facebook account, reporting the deaths of two other men.

The port of al-Maya is around ten km from Zawiya, which is home to a major oil refinery.

Videos of the strike, the second in two days, circulated on social networks on Sunday evening, along with photos of those killed and of the MP's nephew, who was wounded in hospital. On Friday, the MP had said that a drone had fallen on his house, without causing any casualties.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Defence of the UN-recognised Tripoli-based government of national unity announced that it had launched "precise and targeted air strikes against the hideouts of fuel, drug and human trafficking gangs in the western coastal region".

After announcing the start of this operation, which has continued without interruption since, the Tripoli government has not communicated on the progress of the strikes, their targets or the results.

Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011, oil-rich Libya has been plunged into chaos and undermined by divisions fuelled by the proliferation of armed groups with shifting allegiances.

Two governments have been vying for power for the past year: one in Tripoli (west), led by Abdelhamid Dbeibah and recognised by the UN, and the other in the east, backed by the powerful Marshal Khalifa Haftar and the parliament based in Tobruk.

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