In the capital city of Tripoli, Libya, two influential militias that support the UN-backed government engaged in a violent clash, resulting in the loss of 55 lives and injuries to 146 individuals, according to medical sources.
The intense fighting, which erupted on Monday and persisted until late Tuesday, had severe consequences, leading to the closure of the city’s primary airport. The conflict eventually de-escalated after one of the factions released a detained commander, whose arrest had sparked the violent confrontation.
The political landscape of Libya remains tumultuous following the overthrow and demise of long-standing leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country is now effectively divided, with an interim government recognized internationally situated in Tripoli and another administration in the eastern part of the nation. While a ceasefire implemented in 2020 brought some level of tranquility, deeply rooted factionalism on various fronts perpetually threatens to disrupt the fragile peace.
The recent clashes have resulted in numerous residents being trapped within their homes, as the battles unfolded across multiple districts of the capital, including the southeast area of Ain Zara.
The conflicting parties involved are brigades operating within Tripoli, where Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah presides over the government. The turmoil escalated when the Special Deterrence Force, responsible for controlling the airport, apprehended a senior commander from the 444 Brigade as he attempted to travel on Monday. This commander had previously served in the rival militia.
Evacuations were necessitated for 234 families from frontline regions, with 60 ambulances deployed and three field hospitals established to manage the casualties, as reported by Libya’s Emergency Medicine and Support Center.
The prime minister intervened to secure the release of the commander to a “neutral party,” subsequently surveying the affected neighborhoods to assess the extent of the damage. The airport was reopened on the subsequent Wednesday, according to reports.
Expressing concern about the potential repercussions of these events on the ongoing preparations for elections, which had been postponed two years prior, the UN mission emphasized the need for all parties to safeguard the security progress achieved in recent times and to address their differences through peaceful dialogue.