An air strike in central Libya on Tuesday (20 September) killed at least 9 civilians, including six women and one child, local authorities and a doctor said. However, the identity of the planes that carried out the air strike near Houn is not yet known.

Ahmed al-Mesmari, a spokesperson of forces loyal to eastern government of Libya, told Reuters that "militias of Misrata" conducted the raid near central district of Jufra. He alleged that civilians were killed while the attack was aimed at the eastern government's forces.

An airforce spokesperson in Misrata, Mohammed Gonono, rejected the claim. "Our air force did not reach that area. We only conducted reconnaissance in the coastal region," Gonono said.

A doctor in Houn and the municipal council of Al-Shgega, the main city in the region from where most of the victims came, said in a statement that around 20 people were also injured.

The Misrata militias are allied to the UN backed government, which is based in Tripoli. Eastern government forces are allied to the Libyan Parliament and have rejected the UN backed government. The armed groups in Misrata have been battling Islamic State (Isis) for the last four months, in Sirte, which is about 275km (170 miles) north of Houn.

On Monday, a helicopter had crashed near Tobruk, where the eastern parliament is based, killing all six people on board. The helicopter was operated by armed forces loyal to the eastern government.

Libya plunged into chaos after Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011. The country has two parliaments, each with their own government, since 2014.