13 dead, 30 injured in clashes between Libyan armed groups in Tripoli
Clashes between armed groups in Tripoli left 13 people dead and 30 others injured in the latest violence to hit the Libyan capital amid rising political tensions.
On Friday, fighters exchanged fire in a central district where several government and international agencies, along with diplomatic missions, are based, and clashes spread to the areas of Ain Zara and Asbaa.
The fighting "killed 13 people, among them three civilians including a child aged 11, and wounded 30," the ambulance service told the news channel Libya al-Ahrar.
The United Nations Libya mission UNSMIL said it had received reports of civilian casualties and demanded an investigation.
"Any action that endangers the lives of civilians is unacceptable," it said in a tweet, calling on "all Libyans to do everything possible to preserve the country's fragile stability at this sensitive time".
The clashes occurred between two armed groups with major clout in the west of the war-torn country: the Al-Radaa force and the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade.
Another brigade called "444" intervened to mediate a truce, deploying its armed vehicles in a buffer zone east of Tripoli, noted an AFP photographer.
According to Osama Ali, a spokesman for Libya’s Ambulance and Emergency Services, around 60 students who were stranded in the dormitories of the University of Tripoli due to the conflict were transported by ambulances.
Flights of Libyan Airlines from Cairo and Al Alamiya (Global Air) from Benghazi, which were supposed to land at Mitiga Airport, were diverted to Misrata, 200 kilometers east of Tripoli.
Since 2015, Libya has been divided between the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and lawmakers in Tobruk, allied to renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar.
The Government of National Unity of Libya was supported by countries such as Qatar, Turkey, some European countries and the United Nations, and countries such as Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE also supported the army of Khalifa Haftar, a retired general based in Benghazi and Tobruk.
The two rivals fought for power in the country for several years, and after a year of intense conflict that led to the advances of the government of unity to the capital city of Tripoli, they announced a ceasefire last August.