Renewed Clashes Erupt in Libyan Capital

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A new bout of armed clashes erupted between rival militias in the center of Tripoli early on Saturday. The sound of gunfire continues to echo through the city.

The Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade (TRB) affiliated with the commander Haitham Al-Tajouri clashed with the Stabilization Support Apparatus (SSA) affiliated with Abdel-Ghani Al-Kikli (Gheniwa).

According to witnesses, the TRB managed to defeat SSA forces, take control of the internal security headquarters on Al-Jumhuriya Street, seize dozens of cars, and detain three people.

Fighting broke out in various districts of Tripoli between groups armed with both heavy and light weapons. Libya’s two rival governments yet again vie for power in the oil-rich but impoverished North African country.

Gunshots and explosions rang through the darkened streets of Tripoli, according to media reports. Two casualties have been reported.

Local media reported Saturday that the Coastal Road linking the cities of Al-Khoms and Zliten was closed. This was in anticipation of the movement of forces from Misrata towards Tripoli.

“This is horrible. My family and I could not sleep because of the clashes. The sound was too loud and too frightening,” said Abdulmenam Salem, a central Tripoli resident. “We stayed awake in case we had to leave quickly. It’s a terrible feeling.”

The crisis pits groups that back the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU), led by incumbent Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba, against supporters of a rival government led by Prime Minister-designate, Fathi Bashagha.

Bashagha was appointed in February by the Libyan Parliament, but has since been unable to enter Tripoli.