CAIRO (AP) — The death toll from an airstrike that slammed into a military academy in Libya’s capital climbed to at least 30 people, most of them students, health authorities said Sunday.
Tripoli has been the scene of fighting since April between the self-styled Libyan National Army led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter and an array of militias loosely allied with the weak but U.N.-supported government that holds the capital.
The airstrike took place late Saturday in the capital’s Hadaba area, just south of the city center where fighting has been raging for months.
The ambulance service in Tripoli said the airstrike also wounded at least 33 others. It posted images of dead bodies and wounded people being treated at a hospital.
The U.N. Support Mission in Libyan condemned in “the strongest terms” the attack.
The Tripoli-based government blamed the airstrike on the self-styled Libyan National Army. A spokesman for the LNA did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.
The fighting for Tripoli escalated in recent weeks after Hifter declared a “final” and decisive battle for the capital. That followed a military and maritime agreement Tripoli authorities signed with their ally Turkey calling for the deployment of Turkish troops to Libya.
The fighting has threatened to plunge Libya into violence and chaos rivaling the 2011 conflict that ousted and later killed its ruler Moammar Gadhafi.
The country is now divided between the U.N.-supported administration in the west, and a rival government in the east aligned with the LNA.
France, Russia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and other key Arab countries support Hifter and his allies in the east. The Tripoli-based government is backed by Qatar, Italy and Turkey.