Libya conflict: Drone strike kills dozens

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At least 42 people have died in a drone strike in south-western Libya carried out by the forces of rebel Gen Khalifa Haftar, local officials say.

The strike hit a town hall meeting in the town of Murzuq, reports say.

Gen Haftar’s forces – which are based in eastern Libya – say they targeted the town late on Sunday, but deny targeting civilians.

The country has been torn by conflict since the fall of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The air strike left “42 dead and more than 60 injured, 30 of them critically” at the town hall in Qalaa neighbourhood, where more than 200 people were at a meeting “to settle social differences”, council official Ibrahim Omar told AFP news agency.

Local media earlier reported that the strike had hit a wedding party.

The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) condemned the attack on social media and accused Gen Haftar’s forces of carrying it out.

It also urged the UN to “carry out an investigation into the crimes committed by Haftar’s militias in Murzuq”.

Pro-Haftar media outlets said the attack had targeted Chadian mercenaries, which is how they refer to the Tebu ethnic group which opposes Gen Haftar.

Months of fighting between the GNA and Mr Haftar’s forces has claimed more than 1,000 lives since April, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

This is the second time in two months that an air strike thought to be by Gen Haftar’s forces has resulted in mass civilian casualties.

In June, some 44 people were killed in a migrant detention centre on the outskirts of Tripoli.

His forces seized Murzuq earlier this year as part of an offensive to take control of the oil-producing south – but they later withdrew.