An airstrike killed at least 40 people and wounded 80 at a detention centre for migrants in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, early on Wednesday, The Guardian reported. At least 6,000 migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and other countries have been held in detention centres by the government.

The Tripoli-based government blamed the Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar for the strike, AP reported. It asked the United Nations support mission in Libya to establish a fact-finding committee to investigate the incident. However, a spokesperson for Haftar forces did not answer phone calls and messages.

The UN refugee agency in Libya condemned the airstrike on the detention centre, which is home to 616 migrants. Osama Ali, a spokesman for the emergency services, said that the toll could be much higher.

The Libyan National Army had launched an offensive against the government in April. Haftar’s forces control much of the country’s East and South. However, last week, militias allied with the Tripoli government reclaimed the strategic town of Gharyan, which was a key supply route for the Libyan National Army.

On Monday, Haftar had said that his outfit would start heavy airstrikes on Tripoli after “traditional means” of fighting had been exhausted.

The Libyan crisis

The crisis in Libya began with the Arab Spring protests in 2011, which was followed by a civil war. Foreign militaries intervened and helped oust the country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi. Years of instability followed, with a second civil war breaking out in 2014.

The United Nations brokered a ceasefire agreement in December 2015, after which a new government, the Government of National Accord, was put in place, with Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj as its head. However, the GNA, which is based in western Libya’s Tripoli, has not received popular support. Several militia groups have sided with the Libyan National Army, which is based in Tobruk