Reuters International

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - At least eight civilians including women and children were killed in an air strike near an oasis town in central Libya on Tuesday, a hospital doctor and an eyewitness said.

The identity of the war planes that carried out the strike near Houn could not be confirmed. Armed groups loyal to factions based in eastern and western Libya operate in the area.

At least 20 people were wounded in the strike and all victims were brought to the hospital in Houn, a doctor there said.

An eyewitness said residents had heard war planes overhead before learning that civilians had been hit. He went to the hospital to try to offer help and described the situation there as "chaotic".

Earlier, a military source said six people had been killed when a military helicopter operated by armed forces loyal to Libya's eastern government crashed late on Monday.

Among those killed was Colonel Idris Younes, an adviser to the head of Libya's eastern parliament, the source said, adding that two passengers had survived.

He said the crash occurred about 65 km (40 miles) from Tobruk, where Libya's eastern parliament is based. The cause of the crash was not clear.

The parliament moved to the east in 2014 after rival factions seized control of the capital, Tripoli, setting up parallel institutions.

A U.N.-backed government is now trying to establish itself from Tripoli, but it has failed to win endorsement from the east.

(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli and Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Gareth Jones)

reuters_tickers

 Reuters International