Civilians killed and wounded in Libya migrant smuggling hub


At least five civilians were killed and 12 others wounded in fighting in the Libyan migrant smuggling hub of Sabratha, the United Nations said.

Sabratha’s university hospital has twice been hit by shelling, rendering emergency and surgery units unusable, the UN Libya mission said in a statement.

Clashes have pitted the Anas al-Dabbashi brigade, a powerful armed group previously known for migrant smuggling, against the Operations Room to combat the Islamic State, a group formed last year to oust jihadists from Sabratha.

Fighting broke out when a Dabbashi brigade member was shot dead at a checkpoint, but the brigade head said the underlying cause was the group’s move to stop the departure of migrant boats to Italy following a deal with the UN-backed government in Tripoli.

Sabratha had been the most common departure point for migrants setting off for Italy from Libya, until a sudden drop in crossings from July.

The health ministry in Tripoli said overall, at least 26 people including combatants had been killed and 170 wounded in two weeks of fighting.