• Tuesday, 25 June 2024
Armed gangs clash in Libya's capital, killing thirteen people.

Armed gangs clash in Libya's capital, killing thirteen people.

At least 13 people were murdered in fighting between armed factions in Tripoli overnight, according to emergency services on Friday, the latest violence to slam the Libyan capital amid months of increasing political tensions.

Gunfire could still be heard early Friday afternoon in eastern Tripoli after it erupted after midnight in a parkland area, instilling fear among Tripoli residents who go there to cool down after scorching summer days.

Hundreds of people were compelled to seek safety on the Tripoli University campus and a neighboring medical center.

According to the ambulance service, the violence "killed 13 persons, three of whom were civilians, including an 11-year-old child, and injured 30."

The fighting was between two armed organizations with significant clout in the country's west, the Al-Radaa force and the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade.

According to multiple sources, the battle began when one gang detained a fighter from the other. It spread to several neighborhoods of the capital.

An AFP photographer claimed that on Friday, another group named the 444 Brigade intervened to mediate a truce, putting its own fighters in a buffer zone before they, too, came under heavy fire.

However, Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah's spokesman, Mohamed Hamuda, tweeted on Friday afternoon that Al-Radaa, which also functions as a police force, has "agreed to suspend combat activities" at Dbeibah and the Presidential Council's request.

Dbeibah, according to government media, had suspended Interior Minister Khaled Mazen and replaced him with Local Government Minister Badr Eddine al-Toumi.

Tensions in Libya have been increasing for months as two prime ministers jockey for power, heightening worries of further bloodshed two years after a historic agreement stopped Khalifa Haftar's disastrous attempt to grab Tripoli by force.
Libya is still politically fragmented, with alternative administrations vying for control.
Clashes are rumored to be ongoing in two major areas in the capital's south. Tanks and pickup trucks armed with rocket launchers are said to have been stationed in various regions.
UNSMIL, the UN mission in Libya, said it had received reports of civilian casualties and ordered an investigation.

"Any action that endangers civilian life is unacceptable," it stated in a tweet, urging "all Libyans to do all in their power to preserve the country's fragile stability at this critical moment."

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