The Daily Star (Lebanon)

Workers uncover 35 more bodies at mass grave in Libya


TRIPOLI: Emergency workers Sunday uncovered another 35 bodies at a mass grave near Libya’s Sirte, authoritie­s said, taking to 110 the total number of remains retrieved from the site.

The municipal council in the former extremist stronghold of Sirte initially said 75 bodies had been found in an agricultur­al area some 15 kilometers west of the city.

Sunday, council spokesman Mohamad al-Amial said in total “110 bodies were uncovered in the mass grave” by the Libyan Red Crescent in the Al-Daheir area.

“Personal possession­s and mobile phones were found next to the bodies,” he added. The first remains found at the site, also removed by the Red Crescent, are to undergo DNA testing by Libyan authoritie­s.

“The prosecutor’s office told us that it was difficult to identify the bodies therefore it will take time and DNA tests,” Amial said.

When the municipal council first announced the discovery of the site on Wednesday, the spokesman said the bodies were believed to be Daesh (ISIS) group members, although there was no confirmati­on.

Daesh militants overran Sirte in June 2015 and were ousted by forces loyal to Libya’s U.N.-backed government in December 2016, after an eight-month battle.

The group has since pulled back to desert outposts, although it is still able to launch deadly attacks.

It claimed responsibi­lity for a suicide attack last month on the Tripoli

‘Personal possession­s and mobile phones were found next to the bodies’

headquarte­rs of Libya’s National Oil Corporatio­n that killed two staffers, as well as an assault in May on the country’s electoral commission in which 14 people died.

In April, the government launched a military operation to track down the remaining Daesh members operating in western Libya. The U.S. army meanwhile continues to launch strikes against extremists, particular­ly in southern Libya. –

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