TRIPOLI : Libya on Monday denied claims from Cairo that Egyptian nationals were among those killed in a rocket attack on a house in Tripoli at the weekend.
Egypt’s foreign ministry had said a rocket hit a house in the capital on Saturday, killing 23 people, including several Egyptians. ‘There are 23 people dead after a Grad rocket fell on a house in Tripoli. Some of them are Egyptians, but we don’t know how many,’ ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told AFP.
But Libyan interior ministry spokesman Rami Kaal on Monday dismissed the claim. ‘News reported in the press about this incident is completely wrong,’ he said. State news agency Lana reported Kaal as saying that one Egyptian was injured in the attack, without specifying whether there were victims of other nationalities. Two weeks of clashes between rival Libyan militias battling for control of Tripoli’s international airport have left more than 97 people dead and 400 wounded, the health ministry said.
The ministry’s toll was based on casualty reports from eight public hospitals in the capital and its suburbs, and did not include those taken to medical facilities outside the city. Cairo has called on ‘all Egyptian nationals in Tripoli and Benghazi to immediately leave and save themselves from this chaotic internal fighting’. The foreign ministry statement said they should seek ‘safer areas in Libya or head to the Libya-Tunisia border’. There were an estimated 1.5 million Egyptians in Libya before Kadhafi’s overthrow. About two-thirds left during the war but many returned in 2012.