Conflict & Justice

Hundreds of decomposing bodies found at Tripoli hospital


A man looks at the dead bodies in the morgue at he general hospital in the restive Abu Salim neighborhood of Tripoli, on August 26, 2011. The putrefying bodies of around 80 people were found in the hospital, apparently the unlucky victims of fighting that prevented the wounded from being treated, an AFP correspondent reported.



There are reports of more than 200 rotting corpses having been found at a hospital in Libya's capital, Tripoli, in what is being described as hospital horror.

Bodies of men, women and  children were found lying on beds, in halls and outside of Abu Salim's hospital in an area of Tripoli that has seen intense fighting, the BBC reports.

Some of the dead were civilians and others were fighters, including some who may have been African mercenaries, according to the BBC. 

Doctors and nurses are said to have abandoned the hospital after clashes broke out between rebel forces and those loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.

It is not yet clear how the people died. Residents of Abu Salim say some were alive when brought to the hospital, while others were already dead.

Agence France-Presse says that the hospital was controlled by pro-Gaddafi snipers and only fell to the rebel forces on Thursday after days of intense fighting.

Seventeen survivors found at Abu Salim's hospital were taken away for treatment by a Red Cross team, according to AFP, which earlier put the number of corpses found at 80.

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Meanwhile, rebel forces are facing stiff resistance as they advance on Sirte, Gaddafi's birthplace. 

Overnight, UK planes conducted air strikes on a large bunker in Sirte.

The British Ministry of Defense on Friday said its Tornado jets attacked a command bunker in Muammar al-Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte.

The jets took off from RAF Marham in Norfolk on Thursday night, on a long-range strike mission in conjunction with Nato forces.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defense said a formation of Tornado GR4s “fired a salvo of Storm Shadow precision-guided missiles against a large headquarters bunker."

Agence France-Presse reported that Nato planes destroyed 29 armed vehicles in Sirte on Thursday in an attack on Gaddafi loyalists.

There is no indication that Gaddafi was in the bunker itself at the time of the attack. British Defense Secretary Liam Fox said on Friday:

Libyan rebels are also building up their forces on the road to Sirte, sending tanks and rocket launchers.

The air raid came as fighting continued on the streets of Tripoli. Al Jazeera reported Friday that the rebels had stepped up efforts to clear the capital of pro-Gaddafi forces, storming the Abu Salim neighborhood.