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HomeMiddle East NewsTURKEYShootouts, blasts rock Libyan capital as violence turns deadly

Shootouts, blasts rock Libyan capital as violence turns deadly

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Shootouts, blasts rock Libyan capital as violence turns deadly

The fighting follows months of rising tensions between two rival administrations vying for control of the North African country and its vast oil resources.

Small arms fire and explosions rocked several districts of Tripoli, with smoke rising from damaged buildings.
Small arms fire and explosions rocked several districts of Tripoli, with smoke rising from damaged buildings.
(Reuters)

Rival armed groups have exchanged gunfire in the Libyan capital, killing at least one person and raising fears of an all-out conflict in a country embroiled in a grave political crisis.

The fighting follows months of rising tensions between two administrations vying for control of the North African country and its vast oil resources, the latest configuration in a complex and often violent power struggle since the 2011 overthrow of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Small arms fire and explosions rocked several districts of Tripoli overnight and into Saturday, when smoke could be seen rising from damaged buildings.

The two rival administrations exchanged blame as videos posted online showed burned-out cars and buildings riddled with bullet holes, as well as a mosque and a health clinic on fire.

The UN’s Libya mission called for “an immediate cessation of hostilities”, citing “ongoing armed clashes including indiscriminate medium and heavy shelling in civilian-populated neighbourhoods” that it said had damaged hospitals.

READ MORE: Only solution for Libya is elections — Dbeibah

Crisis continues

The US embassy in Libya said it was “very concerned” about the clashes.

Oussama Ali, a spokesperson for Tripoli’s ambulance service, told Al-Ahrar television that an unknown number of civilians had been wounded but that his service was “having difficulties moving around”.

Local media reported fatalities but no official toll has been released.

News agency Lana said actor Mustafa Baraka had been killed in one of the neighbourhoods hit by fighting, sparking anger and mourning on social media.

The Government of National Unity (GNU) of Abdulhamid Dbeibah said fighting had broken out after negotiations to avoid bloodshed in the western city collapsed.

Dbeibah’s government, formed as part of a United Nations-led peace process following a previous round of violence, is challenged by a rival government led by former interior minister Fathi Bashagha, which is backed by the eastern-based parliament.

There was no immediate comment from the interior and health ministries regarding the fighting, which stopped late in the morning, or any casualties.

READ MORE: Five recent events shaping the Libyan conflict
Source: TRTWorld and agencies


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