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Several civilians killed in militia clashes in Libyan capital Tripoli

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At least nine people were killed in violent clashes between militias in the Libyan capital Tripoli on the night from Thursday to Friday.

Emergency services updated an earlier toll, telling Al-Ahrar television that a child was among the nine dead and 25 other people, including civilians, had been injured, several seriously.

Tensions have escalated for months as two prime ministers compete for power in the North African country, raising fears of renewed conflict two years after a historic ceasefire ended a devastating attempt by eastern military leader Khalifa Haftar to overthrow Tripoli. violence was feared.

The latest fighting began with a firefight late Thursday in Ain Zara, a densely populated neighborhood in eastern Tripoli, between the Al-Radaa force and the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade, media reports said.

It later spread to other areas, with 60 students trapped in university dormitories until rescued, Osama Ali of the ambulance service told Al-Ahrar, a news outlet.

Hundreds of women attending wedding ceremonies in the Fornaj district were also detained.

“We spent the night in the basement. Our children were terrified,” a resident, Mokhtar al-Mahmoudi, told AFP.

Both groups involved in the fighting are nominally loyal to Abdulhamid Dbeibah’s government of national agreement, appointed last year as part of a United Nations-backed peace process to end more than a decade of violence in oil-rich Libya. .

Dbeibah has refused to relinquish power to Fathi Bashagha, who was appointed prime minister in February by a parliament in eastern Libya after signing a pact with Haftar.

In mid-May, Bashagha tried to take office in the capital, but this led to clashes between armed groups who supported him and those who supported Dbeibah.

In early July, he told AFP that he still planned to enter Tripoli “in the next few days”.

Clashes on June 10, involving different militias than this time, killed one person, a security source said.

But the latest fighting was the first in months that saw civilian casualties in the capital.

Images on social media showed dozens of abandoned vehicles, their doors open in the middle of the road, by drivers fleeing the violence.

The unrest caused flights by Libyan Airlines and another airline, Alamia, to be diverted from Tripoli Airport in Mitiga to Misrata, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) east of the capital.

Libya has been gripped by insecurity since a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 overthrew and killed dictator Moamer Gaddafi, creating a power vacuum that armed groups have argued for years.

(AFP)

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