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Airstrikes in Libya kill women and children

Rana Jawad

BBC North Africa correspondent, Tunis

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An airstrike in Libya’s eastern city of Derna - once a stronghold of the militant Islamic State (IS) group - killed at least 12 women and children on Monday night, according to a statement by the UN mission in the North African state.

Unverified pictures circulating on social media show the charred remains of victims of the airstrikes.

Reports citing a witness and medical sources say people were killed when airstrikes hit two separate areas in and around the city.

An international human rights observer, who spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity, said that several children between the ages of five and nine suffered severe burns and eye-sight loss.

A picture taken on February 21, 2016 shows the Sahaba Mosque in the eastern coastal Libyan city of Derna.
Derna is a port city which was once controlled by Islamic State militants

Egypt has carried out airstrikes in Derna in the past, but no-one has claimed responsibility for the latest attack.

The city has largely been surrounded and cut-off from the rest of eastern Libya in recent months by forces loyal to the controversial military strongman Khalifa Hefter.

Read: Why is Libya so lawless?