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Libya parliament says drone strike targeted lawmaker’s home

Libya’s parliament, based in the east of the country, accused the Tripoli-based government Friday of targeting the home of one of its lawmakers in a drone strike the previous day.

Announcing the operation, the UN-recognised Government of National Unity had said that the strikes targeted “hideouts used by gangs of smugglers in fuel, narcotics and humans” around Zawiya on the Mediterranean coast west of the capital.

It said the strikes ordered by interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah had “successfully hit their targets”.

But the eastern-based parliament, which until last week recognised a rival premier, said the target of the strikes was the home of Zawiya lawmaker Ali Bouzribah, an opponent of Dbeibah’s government.

“Parliament followed with deep concern the drone strike on Zawiya targeting the home of the city’s representative Ali Bouzribah,” said a statement issued by the speaker’s office, adding that it condemned the “flagrant attack… on civilians and civilian installations”.

Bouzribah himself condemned the “drone strike” on his home in comments to Libyan television.

There were no casualties from the strikes, multiple sources said.

The UN Support Mission in Libya said it was “in contact with the concerned national authorities about the air strikes that took place yesterday in Zawiya”.

“UNSMIL reminds all involved in the incidents in Zawiya that any law enforcement measures should respect relevant national and international laws. Protection of civilians should remain paramount,” it added.

Libyan media said the drone strikes had caused damage around Al-Maya, a small port between Zawiya and the capital that has seen repeated clashes between rival militias in recent weeks.

More than a decade of violence in Libya since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed strongman Moamer Kadhafi in 2011 has seen armed groups fighting for power and influence with impunity.

The North African country, which is awash with weapons, is split between a nominally interim government in Tripoli in the west, and another in the east backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Armed groups have exploited the chaos to fund their activities through fuel smuggling and the trafficking of migrants.

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