CAIRO Deadly clashes broke out Saturday in Libyas capital between militias backed by its two rival administrations, portending a go back to violence amid an extended political stalemate.
At the very least 23 individuals were killed and 140 more wounded, medical Ministry said. It added that 64 families were evacuated from areas round the fighting.
The escalation threatens to shatter the relative calm Libya has enjoyed for some of days gone by 2 yrs. The oil-rich nation plunged into chaos carrying out a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime autocrat Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
On the list of fatalities was Mustafa Baraka, a comedian known for his social media marketing videos mocking militias and corruption. Baraka died after he was shot in his chest, said Malek Merset, a crisis services spokesman.
Merset said emergency services were still attempting to evacuate wounded and civilians trapped in the fighting that erupted overnight and continued into Saturday evening.
MEDICAL Ministry said in a statement hospitals and medical centers in the administrative centre were shelled, and ambulance teams were barred from evacuating civilians, in acts that total war crimes.
The municipal council of Tripoli blamed the ruling political class for the deteriorating situation in the administrative centre, and urged the international community to safeguard civilians in Libya.
The violence caused widespread panic among Tripoli residents. Footage circulated online showed houses, government facilities, and vehicles apparently damaged from the fighting. Other footage showed militia forces deploying and heavy fire being exchanged over the night sky.
The U.N. mission in Libya said the fighting involved indiscriminate medium and heavy shelling in civilian-populated neighborhoods of Tripoli.
The mission needed an instantaneous cease-fire, and for several parties in Libya to avoid using any type of hate speech and incitement to violence.
The clashes pitted the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade militia, led by Haitham Tajouri, against another militia allied with Abdel-Ghani al-Kikli, an infamous warlord referred to as Gheniwa, in accordance with local media. Down the road Saturday, more militias joined the fighting which spread in various areas in the administrative centre.
Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibahs government, that is located in Tripoli, claimed the clashes broke out when one militia fired at another.
The fighting, however, is highly likely section of ongoing power struggle between Dbeibah and his rival Prime Minister Fathy Bashagha who’s operating from the coast city of Sirte.
Both Dbeibah and Bashagha are backed by militias, and the latter was mobilizing in recent weeks to attempt to enter Tripoli to dislodge his rival.
An effort in-may by Bashagha to set up his government in Tripoli triggered clashes that ended along with his withdrawal from the administrative centre.
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland urged for de-escalation before things worsen and for Libyan parties to acknowledge an early on date for elections.