At least 16 Egyptian illegal migrants have been killed in an apparent shooting incident in Libya, according to the acting Libyan ambassador to Cairo.
"Official sources in Libya reported the killing of 16 Egyptians following a quarrel between 30 Egyptian illegal migrants and a Libyan driver and his assistant affiliated to gangs for the transfer of illegal migrants," Acting Libyan Ambassador to Cairo Mohamed Saleh said on Wednesday evening.
Another gang passed by in a vehicle as the argument was taking place, and opened fire on the 30 Egyptians, killing 16, said Saleh.
He said that the driver and his assistant were killed in the shooting incident, while 14 Egyptians escaped.
Saleh said that Libyan authorities have opened an investigation into the incident and are seeking the perpetrators.
He said that the Beni Walid area, where the incident took place, is unsafe and contains fighters from the Islamic State terrorist group.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has contacted Libyan authorities in Tripoli and Beni Walid to verify the news, said Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid.
The ministry also contacted the forensic authorities to identify the bodies of the victims before having them transported back to Egypt, Abu Zeid said.
He reiterated Egyptian government warnings against the illegal migration to Libya.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm