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Libya: Greek Rescuers Among Those Killed In Road Collision

The Greek rescuers were travelling to join other international teams in Derna 

Five members of a Greek humanitarian aid team and three members of a Libyan family have died in a road collision in eastern Libya.

The rescuers were among a team who were travelling on a bus to the flood-ravaged city of Derna on Sunday when their vehicle collided with a car carrying the family.

Two others in the car and eight others on the bus were seriously injured, according to a Libyan official.

An investigation has been opened.

Othman Abdeljalil, health minister in the administration that runs the east of the country, told a news conference the team had been travelling from the eastern city of Benghazi when the crash happened.

He put the death toll at four, but Greek officials said five members of their humanitarian aid team were killed.

“Five bodies, including three officials of the Greek army and two translators from the Greek foreign ministry who were part of the aid team, will be repatriated to Athens on Monday,” the Greek chiefs of staff said in a statement quoted by AFP news agency.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the accident a “tragedy”.

“The whole country is in mourning,” he said.

Libya is split between two rival governments – a United Nations-backed administration based in the capital, Tripoli, and a rival Egyptian-supported authority based in Benghazi.

The Greek authorities said that a bus carrying medical personnel collided with a vehicle moving in the opposite direction.

They added that it was unclear what exactly had happened and that it was looking into the incident in co-operation with Libya, while an operation was under way to repatriate their personnel.

Why damage to Derna was so catastrophic

A diplomatic source has told Greek news site Kathimerini that 16 members of the team were Greek rescuers and three were interpreters.

They were on their way to join teams already on the ground from other countries, including France and Italy.

Thousands of people were killed when two dams above Derna broke during a powerful storm a week ago. The UN says the death toll so far stands at some 11,300.

More than 10,000 more remain officially missing, according to figures from the UN’s Office for the Co-Ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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