Tripoli, Libya —
The death toll, Wednesday 916/8), rose to 45 in clashes earlier this week between rival militias in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, medical authorities said. This clash appears to be the most violent streak of violence to rock the capital this year.
Clashes erupted Monday night between militiamen from the 444th brigade and the Special Prevention Force, and continued into Tuesday night. Tensions flared after Mahmoud Hamza, the senior commander of the 444th brigade, was allegedly detained by a rival group at an airport in Tripoli, according to local media reports. Hamza was later released as part of a deal aimed at stopping the violence, the report said.
Malek Merset, spokesman for the Libya Center for Emergency Medicine and Support, said Wednesday that the death toll rose from 27 to 45, while 146 others were injured, up from 106 on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear how many of those killed were militia or civilians.
On Wednesday, the Libyan military patrolled the streets and spread across Tripoli. The Libyan Interior Ministry said security forces were deploying to areas where fighting was heaviest, including the Fernaj area and al-Shouk Street. However, on Wednesday, the city calmed down again.
The violence underscored the fragility of war-torn Libya after a 2011 uprising turned into civil war, which toppled and later killed dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Amid the chaos, the militias grew richer and more powerful, especially in Tripoli and in the west of the country. (ka/lt)