|2019 Tajoura migrant center airstrike|
|Part of Libyan Civil War (2014–present), European migrant crisis|
|Date||2 July 2019 |
|Target||Nearby military base|
|Perpetrators||Libyan National Army (alleged by Government of National Accord; denied by Libyan National Army)|
On 2 July 2019 at 23:30an airstrike by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) hit the Tajoura Detention Center outside Tripoli, Libya, while hundreds of people were inside the facility. The detention center was being used as a holding facility for migrants and refugees trying to reach Europe when a storage hangar that it used as a residential facility was destroyed in an aerial bombing. The United Nations Human Rights Council stated that "It was known that there were 600 people living inside" the facility.
An airstrike, air strike or air raid is an offensive operation carried out by aircraft. Air strikes are delivered from aircraft such as Blimps, Ballons, fighters, Bombers, ground attack aircraft, attack helicopters and Drones. The official definition includes all sorts of targets, including enemy air targets, but in popular usage the term is usually narrowed to a tactical (small-scale) attack on a ground or naval objective as opposed to a larger, more general attack such as carpet bombing. Weapons used in an airstrike can range from aircraft cannon and machine gun bullets or shells, air-launched rockets, missiles, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles to various types of bombs, glide bombs and even directed-energy weapons such as lasers.
Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar is a Libyan-American military officer and the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), which, under Haftar's leadership, replaced nine elected municipal councils by military administrators, and as of May 2019, was engaged in the Second Libyan Civil War. On 2 March 2015, he was appointed commander of the armed forces loyal to the elected legislative body, the Libyan House of Representatives.
The Libyan National Army is a political faction in Libya and was formerly the country's national military, consisting of a ground force and air force. It was established by the Libyan government after the first Libyan civil war (2011), as Libya's previous national army was defeated by the uprising and 2011 military intervention by NATO. In 2014, the Libyan National Army became its own political faction when under the leadership of General Khalifa Haftar it launched Operation Dignity, a coup against the Islamist-dominated General National Congress, the Libyan parliament. Most of the Libyan military sided with Haftar. The LNA was the military of Libya until late 2015, when the internationally recognised Government of National Accord was established in Tripoli, and established its own Libyan Army. Since then the LNA has not been recognised as the military of Libya.
At least 53 people were killed and 130 were wounded.The LNA's apparent recklessness and its alleged targeting of unarmed civilians were condemned by outraged responses which came from all over the world. The airstrike also raised scrutiny of the European Union's policy of cooperating with militias to detain migrants, and funding and training the Libyan Coast Guard which apprehended most of the migrants and refugees.
The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of about 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.
The Libyan Coast Guard, part of the Libyan Navy, is responsible for the onshore protection of public installations near the coast and the patrol of coastal waters for curbing smuggling and traffickers and for enforcing customs laws. As of 2015, the Libyan Coast Guard has over 1,000 personnel.
The Tajoura Detention Center is located 16 kilometres (10 mi) east of the Libyan capital of Tripoli. It is part of a network of 34 migrant detention centers across northwestern Libya which house at least 5,000 people. The centers are operated by the Government of National Accord (GNA) and are used to detain migrants attempting to reach Europe.
Tripoli is the capital city and the largest city of Libya, with a population of about 1.158 million people in 2018. It is located in the northwest of Libya on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean Sea and forming a bay. It includes the port of Tripoli and the country's largest commercial and manufacturing centre. It is also the site of the University of Tripoli. The vast Bab al-Azizia barracks, which includes the former family estate of Muammar Gaddafi, is also located in the city. Colonel Gaddafi largely ruled the country, from his residence in this barracks.
The Government of National Accord is an interim government for Libya that was formed under the terms of the Libyan Political Agreement, a United Nations-led initiative, signed on 17 December 2015. The agreement was unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, which welcomed the formation of a Presidency Council for Libya and recognized the Government of National Accord as the sole legitimate executive authority in Libya. On 31 December 2015, Chairman of the Libyan House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh Issa declared his support for the Libyan Political Agreement. During 2015–2017, the General National Congress criticized the unity government on multiple fronts as biased in favor of its rivals, the House of Representatives.
In April 2019, the Libyan National Army, under Haftar's command, began a major offensive to capture western Libya and the capital Tripoli. After an airstrike hit a target less than 100 metres (330 ft) from the detention center in May, the UN Refugee Agency called for the evacuation of refugees and migrants in detention centers in conflict areas of Tripoli. On 1 July 2019, the LNA said it had begun an air campaign. The LNA's spokesman said that the air campaign destroyed the main control room for drones at Mitiga International Airport, which led to the airport—Tripoli's only functioning airport—suspending civilian flights.
The 2019 Western Libya offensive, code-named "Operation Flood of Dignity", is a military campaign by the Libyan National Army under Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, which represents the Libyan House of Representatives, to capture the western region of Libya and eventually the capital Tripoli held by the UN Security Council-recognised Government of National Accord.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is a United Nations programme with the mandate to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people, and assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.
Mitiga International Airport is an airport in Libya, located about 8 kilometres east of Tripoli's city center.
Near midnight on 2 July an airstrike directly struck Tajoura Detention Center's residential hangar as migrant families were sleeping or listening to the conflict outside.A Doctors Without Borders medical coordinator counted 126 migrants living inside of the center's hangar unit shortly before it was hit by the strike. Aerial photos from the scene show that the explosion caved in the roof and blew out the walls of the section of the hangar where it struck. Reports were made to the UN that guards shot at refugees and migrants trying to flee from the air strike. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said there were two air strikes, one hitting an unoccupied garage and one hitting a hangar containing around 120 refugees and migrants. According to the OCHA, some refugees and migrants were fired upon by guards as they tried to escape. The Tripoli-based interior ministry denied firing at fleeing refugees and migrants categorically. A media advisor to the Tripoli-based Ministry of Health said in the aftermath that "there was blood and body parts all over the place" and the Tripoli-based government described it as a "massacre". Hospitals worked at above-average capacities as they attempted to treat a flood of injured patients from the attack. According to the United Nations, at least 53 people were killed in the airstrike and 130 were injured.
Médecins Sans Frontières, sometimes rendered in English as Doctors Without Borders, is an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organisation (NGO) of French origin best known for its projects in conflict zones and in countries affected by endemic diseases. In 2015, over 30,000 personnel — mostly local doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, logistical experts, water and sanitation engineers and administrators — provided medical aid in over 70 countries. Most staff are volunteers. Private donors provide about 90% of the organisation's funding, while corporate donations provide the rest, giving MSF an annual budget of approximately US$1.63 billion.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is a United Nations (UN) body formed in December 1991 by General Assembly Resolution 46/182. The resolution was designed to strengthen the UN's response to complex emergencies and natural disasters. Earlier UN organizations with similar tasks were the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA), and its predecessor, the Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator (UNDRO). In 1998, due to reorganization, DHA merged into OCHA and was designed to be the UN focal point on major disasters. It is a sitting observer of the political debate United Nations Development Group.
Haftar's forces, who are backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, have said they were targeting a nearby military site.According to Amnesty International, there was a weapons storage warehouse in the same compound as the detention center; GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha denied that weapons were stored at the compound.
Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.
The United Arab Emirates literally "'State' of the United Arab Emirates", sometimes simply called the Emirates, is a country in Western Asia at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south and west, as well as sharing maritime borders with Qatar to the west and Iran to the north. The sovereign constitutional monarchy is a federation of seven emirates consisting of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. Their boundaries are complex, with numerous enclaves within the various emirates. Each emirate is governed by a ruler; together, they jointly form the Federal Supreme Council. One of the rulers serves as the President of the United Arab Emirates. In 2013, the UAE's population was 9.2 million, of which 1.4 million are Emirati citizens and 7.8 million are expatriates.
Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.80 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
The Government of National Accord (GNA) blamed the attack on air forces associated with Haftar of the Libyan National Army (LNA). Haftar had been waging an offensive against the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli since April, and the airstrike had occurred two days after the general threatened bombings in the area after announcing "traditional means" of war were insufficient.Although the LNA had announced plans for airstrikes in response to losing control of Gharyan, a spokesman for Haftar told The Independent that the allegations that the LNA was behind the bombing were "incorrect" because "the LNA has no air operations."
GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha announced on 4 July that the government was considering closing detention centers and releasing all migrants as the government cannot ensure their protection.The next day, Bashagha accused the United Arab Emirates of bombing the migrant center with a US-made F-16 jet. When asked if the GNA had any proof that an Emirati jet conducted the attack, the Minister said: "The sound of the jet was identified by technicians and pilots who heard it. The destructive power [of the bombs] is very big and is similar to the destructive power [of the bombs dropped] in 2014."
Foreign nations and international bodies like the UN and African Union collectively called for an investigation, condemning the airstrike and lamenting the loss of life. A spokesman for the United Nations Refugee Agency stated that the detention center's close proximity to a weapons warehouse made it a target by association.Michelle Bachelet, the UN's Human Rights Chief, said the airstrike might constitute a "war crime." In an official statement, Secretary-General António Guterres demanded a probe into "how this happened and who was responsible and to bring those individuals to account." The UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration made a joint statement: "Our two organizations strongly condemn this and any attack on civilian life. We also call for an immediate end to detention of migrants and refugees." The UN Security Council considered a resolution drafted by the United Kingdom which would have condemned the attack and called for a ceasefire, which didn't pass after not being endorsed by the United States. The African Union issued a statement via Commission Chair Moussa Faki reiterating its call for an immediate ceasefire and demanding that "an independent investigation be conducted to ensure that those responsible for this horrific crime [against] innocent civilians be brought to account." Faki also emphasized the need for humanitarian relief from the international community to protect migrant populations. The Middle East and North African director for Amnesty International, too, demanded that the International Criminal Court investigate the bombing as a war crime, highlighting the disaster as a "consequences of Libya and Europe's callous migration policies".
Foreign affairs ministries for regional neighbors of Libya and the United Arab Emirates similarly called for changes to international migrant-holding policies and condemned the strike as a war crime.The Minister for Foreign Affairs for Malta Carmelo Abdella emphasized that migrants and refugees in dangerous situations should be "swiftly transferred to safe places under the supervision and protections of the United Nation," and on 7 July Malta's government allowed 65 migrants rescued while sailing from Libya to Europe to stay in Malta to await relocation to the European Union. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Qatar, a regional neighbor to the accused United Arab Emirates, called for an "urgent international investigation" into the airstrike. Algeria's government similarly condemned the airstrike for the wanton deaths of civilians, and insisted on the "immediate return to the process of inclusive dialogue between all Libyan parties."
Even nations outside of the regions severely affected by the European migrant crisis stated their outrage while demanding investigations and policy changes. The U.S. State Department made an official statement for conflicting Libyan parties to "de-escalate fighting in Tripoli and return to the political process," and Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the attack a "crime against humanity" and blamed Haftar's forces for the airstrike.The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs similarly issued a similar statement emphasizing the need for a "comprehensive and credible investigation of this crime" and called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in order to prevent new casualties."
Sabha, or Sebha, is an oasis city in southwestern Libya, approximately 640 kilometres (400 mi) south of Tripoli. It was historically the capital of the Fezzan region and the Military Territory of Fezzan-Ghadames and is now capital of the Sabha District. Sabha Air Base, south of the city, is a Libyan Air Force installation that is home to multiple MiG-25 aircraft.
Tripoli International Airport was an international airport built to serve Tripoli, the capital city of Libya. The airport is located in the area of Qasr bin Ghashir, 24 kilometres (15 mi) from central Tripoli. It used to be the hub for Libyan Airlines, Afriqiyah Airways, and Buraq Air.
The Libyan Air Force is the branch of the Libyan military responsible for aerial warfare. In 2010, before the Libyan Civil War, the Libyan Air Force personnel strength was estimated at 18,000, with an inventory of 374 combat capable aircraft operating from 13 military airbases in Libya. Since the 2011 civil war and the ongoing conflict, multiple factions fighting in Libya are in possession of military aircraft. As of 2019 the Libyan Air Force is nominally under the control of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli, though the rival Libyan National Army of Marshal Khalifa Haftar also has a significant air force.
The Libyan Army is the land warfare branch of the military of Libya, which since December 2015 has been nominally subordinated to the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli. Due to the instability in the country in 2011 civil war and the outbreak of a new conflict in 2014, the Libyan ground forces remain highly divided. The forces loyal to the GNA have been fighting against various other factions in Libya, as well as terrorists groups like the Islamic State. Some efforts have been made to create a truly national army, but most of the forces under the Tripoli government's command consist of various militia groups, such as the Tripoli Protection Force, and local factions from cities like Misrata and Zintan.
The Second Libyan Civil War is an ongoing conflict among rival factions seeking control of the territory and oil of Libya. The conflict at the beginning was mostly between the House of Representatives (HoR) government that was controversially elected in 2014, also known as the "Tobruk government"; and the rival General National Congress (GNC) government, also called the "National Salvation Government", based in the capital Tripoli, established after Operation Odyssey Dawn and the failed military coup.
The Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries is a military coalition in Benghazi composed of Islamist and jihadist militias, including Ansar al-Sharia, Libya Shield 1, and several other groups.
The following lists events that happened in 2014 in Libya.
This is a detailed timeline of the Libyan Civil War (2014–present).
Clashes have been ongoing in West Libya since 14 October 2016. A coup d'état attempt was conducted by the former head of the National Salvation Government Khalifa al-Ghawil against Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of Libya's GNA Government.
The Gulf of Sidra Offensive was an offensive of the Second Libyan Civil War. It was launched by the Benghazi Defense Brigades on 3 March 2017, and has so far resulted in them taking control of a strip of coastal territory between the towns of Nofaliya and Ras Lanuf, which was then handed over to the Government of National Accord. A number of significant oil ports are located in this area, sometimes referred to as the Oil Crescent. The loss of the Oil Crescent has been perceived by analysts as a major blow to the power of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
The Battle of Tripoli was a month long series of clashes in Tripoli, the capital of Libya and the centre of the Government of National Accord, during the Libyan Civil War. 115 people were confirmed killed by the time the ceasefire was signed.
The Siege of Derna was a military campaign by the Libyan National Army (LNA) to capture the city of Derna, which began after the end of the Derna campaign (2014–16). After besieging the city for 21 months, the LNA attacked the city on 7 May 2018, Starting the Battle of Derna (2018–19) and ultimately taking the city on 11 February 2019. The siege was criticized by the National Commission for Human Rights in Libya as a war crime, as well as by the Government of National Accord.
In late January 2019, the Libyan National Army (LNA) faction of Marshal Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to take control of the city of Sabha and the rest of southern Libya from the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and local factions. Officially the LNA announced that the reason for the operation was to remove terrorists, Chadian rebel groups, and to secure the border, but it has expanded Haftar's territorial control and acquired him oil fields near Sabha. It has also restarted some interethnic conflicts as the LNA has allied with local Arab tribes, while the Tuareg and Toubou tribal militias are loyal to the GNA.
The Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic is a Chadian militant rebel group that seeks to overthrow Idriss Déby, President and de facto dictator of Chad. Founded in 2016, it currently operates in the border regions of northern Chad, southern Libya, eastern Niger, and western Sudan. The CCMSR has become involved in the Second Libyan Civil War, and took control of the Kouri Bougoudi area in northern Chad in 2018.
Ali Faraj al-Qatrani is a Libyan politician. He was part of the Presidential Council of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord in Tripoli as one of its vice presidents, from 2016 to 2019.
The International Criminal Court investigation in Libya or the Situation in Libya is an investigation started in March 2011 by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into war crimes and crimes against humanity claimed to have occurred in Libya since 15 February 2011. The initial context of the investigation was the 2011 Libyan Civil War and the time frame of the investigation continued to include the 2019 Western Libya offensive.