Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

Libyan militias resume clashes in Tripoli

At least 10 dead in fresh outbreak of fighting that breaches UN-brokered ceasefire

Militias allied to Libya's internationally recognised government fight rival groups in Tripoli in September 2018. Reuters
Militias allied to Libya's internationally recognised government fight rival groups in Tripoli in September 2018. Reuters

Three days of militia clashes in the Libyan capital Tripoli have killed at least 10 people and injured 41, the health ministry said.

The fighting between rival armed groups in the south of the capital breached a shaky ceasefire brokered by the United Nations in September which had ended four weeks of violence.

Women and children were among the casualties in the latest fighting, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Two residents told Reuters by phone that heavy gunfire had not ceased for 72 hours in Tripoli's southern suburb of Qaser Bin Ghashir, location of city's international airport which was destroyed in a previous bout of clashes in 2014.

The most recent fighting broke out between a coalition of Tripoli militias, known as the Tripoli Protection Force (TPF), and the 7th Brigade, or Kaniyat, from Tarhouna, a town 65 kilometres south-east of Tripoli.

The Force said in a statement that it controlled Qaser Bin Qashir, posting on the internet pictures of masked fighters and armoured vehicles in the streets of the area.

The 7th Brigade and some allied groups triggered the fighting last August in a bid to challenge the dominance of four “super militias”, including the Tripoli Protection Force, in the streets of the capital.

The internationally-recognised government in Tripoli, backed by the United Nations, has been working on a new security plan since the September ceasefire deal but achieved little.

Libya's streets have been controlled by armed groups since the fall of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in a 2011 rebellion backed by Nato air strikes. The country now has competing governments operating in the east and west.

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Updated: January 18, 2019 01:19 PM

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