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Armed Clashes Erupt in Libya’s Bani Walid

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On Saturday, a new wave of armed clashes erupted between Libya’s Anti-Terrorism Force (ATF), and human smugglers in Bani Walid city, southeast of Tripoli.

A security source stated that the clashes came against the backdrop of the arrest of Ashraf Al-Khazmi, a relative of IS leader Mubarak Al-Kharmi, who was arrested by the country’s Joint Operations Forces in September.

The source added that the clashes took place south of Bani Walid, on a farm used by human smugglers.

Well-informed sources in the city indicated that the elite military unit, the 444th Brigade said that it managed to raid several human smuggling dens. This resulted in fierce clashes, with various types of medium weapons reportedly used during the fighting.

Libya has been engulfed in instability and civil conflicts since the overthrow of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Western Libya continues to suffer from the control of militias, as Tripoli has witnessed a new wave of insecurity and clashes between armed militias. Violent clashes have recently erupted between Al-Far and Ghneiwa, leading to extensive damage to the Al-Zawiya Oil Refinery Complex.

Other clashes in the Al-Farnaj district of Tripoli took place between Ghneiwa and the Judicial Police Affiliated with the (RADA) Special Deterrence Forces led by Abdel-Rauf Kara.

These events show that despite the political progress being made, the country remains under the control of militias and armed groups.

Notably, Libya is currently facing a political crisis after the Libyan Parliament swore in former Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha, to lead a new interim government in February. MP’s argued that incumbent Prime Minister, Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba’s mandate expired when elections failed to take place in December.

Dbaiba has since refused to cede power, and warned that the appointment of a new government could lead to war and chaos in the country. He renewed his pledge to only hand power over to an elected government.

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