TRIPOLI, Libya 

A new mass grave was found in Libya’s southwestern city of Tarhuna that was recently liberated from warlord Khalifa Haftar’s militia, the Libyan government said Sunday.

“The grave was discovered in Alrabet area, a former stronghold of Haftar’s militia in the city,” Lutfi Tawfiq, the director of the General Authority for Research and Identification of Missing Persons, told Anadolu Agency.

He said efforts were still underway to exhume the bodies inside the grave.

Last week, the Libyan authorities discovered five mass graves in the same area in Tarhuna where 12 bodies were exhumed.

The Libyan government has discovered several mass graves in Tripoli and Tarhuna in the wake of Haftar’s defeat in his recent offensive on Tripoli.

The Libyan authorities say that Haftar’s militia and allied mercenaries have committed several war crimes and crimes against humanity in the period between April 2019 and June 2020.

On June 16, the Libyan government found 226 dead bodies in mass graves in Tarhuna and south of Tripoli.

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The Government of National Accord (GNA) was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed because of Haftar’s military offensive.

The UN recognizes the government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj as the country’s legitimate authority as Tripoli has battled Haftar’s militias since April 2019 in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.

*Ahmed Asmar in Ankara contributed to this report

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