Armed Clashes Erupt in Libyan Capital

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Clashes between Libyan armed groups erupted overnight in Tripoli, according to local media reports. This is part of the latest violence to hit the Libyan capital.

Gunfire and explosions were heard in the El Jebs district in the city’s South, where the warring sides used light and heavy weapons, media reports said.

Tensions have been rising for months in Libya as two Prime Ministers vie for power; raising fears of renewed conflict two years after a landmark truce ended the attempt of the Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar to seize Tripoli by force.

The clashes involved armed groups loyal to the incumbent Prime Minister, Abdelhamid Al-Dbaiba, Head of the Government of National Unity (GNU), based in Tripoli and others following his rival Fathi Bashagha, named in February as Prime Minister by a Parliament based in Libya’s East.

The fighting ended when another group called the 444 Brigade intervened to mediate, according to Libyan media. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Bashagha failed in his attempts to oust Al-Dbaiba, who has repeatedly asserted he will only hand over power to an elected government.

Tensions between armed groups loyal to the rival leaders have increased in recent months in Tripoli. On July 22nd, fighting in the heart of the city left 16 dead and about 50 wounded.

Al-Dbaiba’s GNU was appointed as part of a United Nations (UN)-backed peace process to end more than a decade of violence in the North African country.

The transitional government had a mandate to lead the country to elections last December, but they never took place due to divisions over the rules and the presence of controversial candidates.

Libya has been gripped by insecurity since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed long-time leader Moammar Gaddafi in 2011, leaving a power vacuum armed groups have been wrangling for years to fill.