Libya: Deadly clashes erupt in Tripoli

Heavy clashes between armed groups have erupted in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, since Sunday evening, officials said. 

Two people were reportedly killed while several others were wounded in the clashes on Monday, as the health ministry declared a state of emergency in the capital, according to local media.

It remains unclear who the armed groups are affiliated to.

The National Committee for Human Rights in Libya said in a statement on Monday that it was deeply concerned over the outbreak of the violence, Libya News reported.

The statement called on all parties to the conflict to put down their arms and cease fighting immediately.

The incident follows a deadly attack last week on a checkpoint in western Libya, in which six soldiers loyal the Government of National Accord (GNA) were killed.

On Saturday, an affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for the attack in Zliten, a town that lies 170km from the capital.

Libyan authorities announced the arrest of the suspected perpetrators.

“Soldiers of the caliphate assaulted the ‘Wadi Kaam’ gate, on the Zliten-Khoms road two days ago, targeting a gathering of apostate security elements” loyal to Libya’s UN-backed unity government, the armed group said via its Amaq media arm.  

In an interview on Saturday with Libya’s private al-Ahrar broadcaster, the unity government’s Interior Minister Abdelsalam Ashour said “the perpetrators of the attack were apprehended”, without specifying how many people were arrested. 

Seven years after the 2011 NATO-backed ouster of Muammar Ghaddafi, Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east, backed by military leader Khalifa Haftar.

A myriad of armed groups and people traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.

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