Libya: Thirty civilians killed in explosion at arms depot

Published June 22nd, 2016 - 04:30 GMT
National unity government forces during an operation in Sirte, Libya, on June 12, 2016. (AFP/Stringer)
National unity government forces during an operation in Sirte, Libya, on June 12, 2016. (AFP/Stringer)

Some thirty people have been killed and dozens more wounded in an explosion at an ammunition depot in Libya’s western city of Garabulli.

According to officials, the arms depot was formerly in the control of an armed militant group -- from the city of Misrata -- who had been pushed out following the clashes with locals.

"The number of casualties is rising and we are working hard to transfer them to nearest hospitals," said municipal official Mohamed Assayed.

He added that the blast occurred as locals tried to enter the camp, although it is still not clear how the explosion was triggered.

A local of the town, also known as Castelverde, said the clashes had broken out following a dispute between locals and a member of the militia who was refusing to pay at a shop.

Meanwhile, some 18 soldiers with the national unity government were killed during firefights with Daesh militants in various locations of Sirte as forces loyal to Libya’s unity government are preparing for a final assault on the northern port city. Sirte, the major stronghold of Daesh outside Iraq and Syria, fell to Daesh in February 2015.

The full recapture of the city would be a major boost to the Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, which has come to office through support from the United Nations.

Daesh has been taking advantage of the chaos embroiling Libya since the NATO-backed overthrow and death of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Editor's note: This article has been edited from the original.

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