Libyans protest US airstrike over ‘death of civilians’

Scores of Libyans have protested against a new US airstrike on a desert area in the country’s southwestern town of Uwaynat, near the Algerian border, saying that the strike targeted and killed civilians.

The protest rally was staged on Tuesday by members of the ethnic Tuareg tribe living in the area pounded by the US.

They demanded that the Tripoli-based government launch a probe into the deadly attack.

The participants in the anti-US rally, including women and children, blamed the American military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) for the aerial strike, holding signs and pamphlets that read, “Africom attacked civilians,” and “Africom is killing our sons,” according to a Reuters report.

AFRICOM announced in a Thursday statement that it had killed 11 people near Uwaynat in its third bombing run since March against who it claimed to be militants with al-Qaeda’s North African branch.

It said that it had demolished three vehicles and also claimed that US forces had assessed at the time that “no civilians were injured or killed.”

The divided North African country still struggles to restore stability seven years after a popular uprising that toppled and killed Libya’s long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi following heavy bombardment of government positions by NATO.

Libya is now divided between two rival governments — in the east and west, and each backed by an array of rival militia factions.

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