Several dead in clashes between Libyan security forces in Tripoli

Government and military prosecutors will conduct an investigation into rival fighting in the country’s capital.

Intense clashes have erupted between rival factions in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, with reports of several people killed amid growing concern that a political standoff could prompt renewed conflict.

Clashes occurred early on Friday in the central district near the Radisson Blu hotel, an area where several government and international agencies and diplomatic missions are based, with military vehicles mobilised around Zawiyat al-Dahmani.

Fighting had taken place on Thursday night in the Ain Zara region of the city between units of the Presidential Council’s security force and the Special Deterrence Force, or RADA.

Tripoli residents said a man and a child had been killed in that fighting. Local news reports, citing medical sources, later said that five people had been killed.

Osama Ali, a spokesman for Libya’s Ambulance and Emergency Services, said on Friday that casualty figures could rise as reports come in from other hospitals in the area.

The Libyan military’s 444 Brigade intervened to stop the fighting and took up positions in several areas where the clashes took place, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter.

A Presidential Council statement called on both sides to cease hostilities, adding that government and military prosecutors will conduct investigations.

Last month, clashes between two influential militias aligned with rival prime ministers vying for power rocked Tripoli, injuring several people in the process.

Worsening situation

Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011 when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown after four decades in power.

The situation has worsened since March when the eastern Tobruk-based House of Representatives appointed a new government led by former interior minister Fathi Bashagha.

Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, leader of the Tripoli-based national unity government that is backed by the United Nations, insists he will only cede authority to a government that comes through an “elected parliament,” raising fears that Libya could slip back into a civil war.

Both prime ministers have support from among the armed factions that control territory in the capital and other western Libyan cities.

Over recent weeks, political shifts have pointed to a possible realignment among power brokers and armed factions that could prompt renewed fighting.

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