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UN denounces Libya airstrike as 'unacceptable'

The strikes took place as a delegation in the ongoing peace talks was preparing to leave the country
Bernardino Leon Gross is the United Nations Special Representative and head of the United Nations support mission in Libya (AA)

A UN envoy trying to broker a unity government in war-torn Libya condemned as "unacceptable" an airstrike Wednesday targeting militia near the capital.

The strikes took place as a delegation in the ongoing peace talks was preparing to leave the country.

"We have never seen airstrikes in the moment in which one of the delegations is taking off on its way to the talks," Bernardino Leon, the UN special representative and head of the UN mission in Libya, told the Associated Press.

Leon called for an investigation into who carried out the raid, as media loyal to authorities in the militia-held capital blamed warplanes of the Tobruk-based government.

"The UN condemns in the strongest terms the airstrike... on Metiga airport" in Tajoura, east of Tripoli, Leon said.

"It is an extremely negative move and, of course, it is unacceptable," he said in Morocco ahead of a new round of peace talks on Thursday.

"We hope that an explanation will be given to the international community."

Libya's Tobruk-based government said in March that loyalist forces had launched an offensive to "liberate" Tripoli and its suburbs, and its warplanes have bombed militia targets in the past.

Libya has been gripped by chaos and violence since its 2011 revolution that toppled and killed former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The instability and fighting, paired with widespread human rights violations committed during Gaddafi's era, have left nearly one of out every third Libyan with depression, according to a study released in November by Danish Institute against Torture (Dignity).

The country has had rival administrations and parliaments since an Islamist-backed militia alliance seized the capital in August 2014, prompting the now Tobruk-based government to take refuge in the east.

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