Libya authorities call for a stop to Tripoli clashes; 13 killed, 30 wounded

AP , AFP , Friday 22 Jul 2022

A Libyan medical official says that at least 13 people have been killed in renewed clashes between militias in the country's capital, Tripoli.

File Photo: Forces loyal to Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, one of Libya s two rival prime ministers, secure the streets of the capital, Tripoli, Tuesday May, 17, 2022. AP


Osama Ali, spokesman for Libya's emergency services, said that among those killed were three civilians from the area and a 12--year-old child. He said 30 people had been wounded.

The Libyan Presidential Council in Tripoli said in a statement early morning Friday that all forces involved should go back to their bases immediately.

It's the latest violence to threaten the relative peace after nearly a decade of civil war, and comes as the country is in a political stalemate between two rival sets of authorities. The divisions have sparked several incidents of violence in Tripoli in recent months.

A gunbattle erupted late Thursday in Ain Zara, a densely populated neighbourhood of eastern Tripoli, between the Al-Radaa force and the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade, media reports said.

It lasted until the early hours of Friday before spreading to other areas.

Three civilians were killed and two wounded, ambulance services Osama Ali told Al-Ahrar television, adding they were taken to Tripoli Medical Center.

Sixty students were trapped by the fighting in university dormitories until they were evacuated by the ambulance service, said Ali.

The death toll was expected to rise since "we do not yet have information from private clinics in the area", he added.

The clashes were the latest flare-up in fighting that first erupted on June 10, but the civilian casualties were the first in the capital for months.

The cause of the fighting that began late Thursday was unclear. Videos shared on social media showed local militia forces deploying and heavy fire being exchanged across the night sky.

Libya has for years been split between rival administrations in the east and the west, each supported by various well-armed militias and foreign governments. The Mediterranean nation has been in a state of upheaval since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled and later killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The country's plan to transition to an elected government fell through after an interim administration based in Tripoli, headed by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, failed to hold elections last year and the presidential council led by The postponement drove aground yearslong U.N.-led attempts to usher in a more democratic future and bring the country's war to an end.

Dbeibah has refused to step down since then, raising questions over his mandate.

In response, the country's East-based lawmakers have elected a rival prime minister, Fathy Bashagha, a powerful former interior minister who is now operating a separate administration out of the city of Sirte. An attempt in May by Basghagha to install his government in Tripoli also ended in clashes that killed one, after which he withdrew.

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