At least 23 dead in fighting in Libyan capital

At least 23 dead in fighting in the Libyan capital

Fighting, with heavy and light weapons, broke out in several neighborhoods of Tripoli.

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Clashes between supporters of Libya's rival governments have killed at least 23 people and damaged six hospitals in Tripoli.

Fighting between militias that erupted overnight from Friday to Saturday in Tripoli, against a backdrop of political chaos with two rival governments, left at least 23 dead and 140 injured, according to an official report.

Clashes between competing militias erupted in several neighborhoods of Tripoli, where bursts of gunfire and shelling rang out throughout the night and into the day on Saturday.

A precarious calm reigned over the city in the night from Saturday to Sunday. The head of the government of Tripoli Abdelhamid Dbeibah then appeared in a video, surrounded by his guards, saluting fighters who sided with him.

These new clashes are on an unprecedented scale since the failure in June 2020 of the attempt by Marshal Khalifa Haftar, a strongman from the east, to conquer the capital militarily, at the height of the civil war which followed the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011.

Six hospitals were affected by the strikes, announced the Minister of Health, who gave a new toll of 23 dead and 140 injured.

The clashes caused ;extensive damage, according to an AFP journalist, who saw dozens of charred cars and buildings riddled with bullets or set on fire.

The streets of Tripoli were almost deserted throughout the day as columns of greyish smoke rose into the sky.

Vehicles were set on fire in a street in the Libyan capital following clashes between rival gangs.

The Tripoli-based government has accused rival Prime Minister Fathi Bachagha, temporarily based in Sirte (center) and supported by Mr. Haftar, of wanting to follow through on his threats to s& #x27;take over the city.

Mr. Bachagha's media office in turn accused the Tripoli government of clinging to power despite claiming it was illegitimate.

La urban warfare has its own logic, it is harmful to both civilian infrastructure and people, so even if it is not long, this conflict will be very destructive, analyzed for the; AFP Emadeddin Badi, researcher at the Global Initiative think tank.

Since his appointment in February by the Parliament sitting in the east, Mr. Bachagha has tried, without success, to enter Tripoli to establish his authority there, recently threatening to use force.

< p class="e-p">Mr. Dbeibah, at the head of a transitional government, has repeatedly assured that he will only hand over power to a government that emerges from the ballot box.

The 444th Brigade, supporting the National Unity Government (GNU) and Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, prepares to enter in the area of ​​the clashes in Tripoli.

Tensions between armed groups loyal to one or the other of the two leaders have been exacerbated in recent months in Tripoli . Last month, fighting left 16 people dead, including civilians, and around 50 wounded.

The US Embassy in Tripoli expressed serious concern, while the UN mission in Libya called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, denouncing clashes in populated neighborhoods […] civilians.

The government in place in Tripoli was born in early 2020 from a process sponsored by the UN, with the main mission of organizing x27; elections last December, postponed indefinitely due to strong differences on the legal basis of the ballots and the presence of controversial candidates among whom are precisely MM. Dbeibah, Bachagha and Haftar.

Libya descended into chaos after the uprising that brought down the Gaddafi regime in 2011.

In 11 years, the oil-rich but interference-ridden North African country has seen a dozen governments, two civil wars and never managed to hold a presidential election.< /p>

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