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
Cairo has contacted Libyan parties to urge them to avoid armed clashes, the sources said, noting that parliament-appointed Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha pledged to Cairo to exercise restraint and avoid escalation.
Egypt has also urged international parties to intervene to prevent a war in Tripoli, according to the sources.
Heavy gunfire was heard across Tripoli, the seat of the government of rival Prime Minister Abdul-Hamid Al-Dbeibah, as clashes erupted between armed factions after Bashagha entered the capital on Monday night in an attempt to seat his government.
Bashagha, however, left the western city hours later, citing the “security and safety of citizens."
Bashagha was named prime minister by the east-based parliament in February after the Government of National Union (GNU), headed by Dbeibah, failed to hold presidential elections as scheduled last December.
However, Dbeibah, selected to lead the GNU by the UN-led Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in February 2021, has refused to hand over power except to an elected government.
The two rival prime ministers have blamed each other for Tuesday's escalation, while the UN and European Union launched urgent appeals for calm.
Egypt has also said it is following up with concern the developments taking place in Tripoli, urging all Libyan parties to exercise restraint and refrain from taking any steps that can fuel violence.
In a statement, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated the need to maintain calm in Libya and to preserve the lives, property, and capabilities of the Libyan people.
The ministry stressed the inevitability of dialogue with the aim of concluding the presidential and legislative elections in Libya simultaneously and without delay.
The statement also emphasised the importance of the constitutional path dialogue currently taking place in Cairo.