NewsHeavy fighting in the Libyan capital Tripoli – DW – August 15,...

    Heavy fighting in the Libyan capital Tripoli – DW – August 15, 2023

    Fighting broke out on Monday evening after militia arrested Mahmud Hamsa, the commander of the so-called 444th Brigade, eyewitnesses said. According to the brigade, he was taken into custody at the airport in the Libyan capital by members of the al-Radaa force (special deterrent force).

    After a brief hiatus, fighting continued on Tuesday. “The clashes affected several areas in the eastern suburbs of Tripoli and in Ain Zara, south of Tripoli,” said an Interior Ministry official. At least 18 people were injured in the fighting, local media reported, citing emergency services. Plumes of smoke could be seen in the capital. Images posted on social media showed armored vehicles and armed pickups in east and south Tripoli. The capital’s only civilian airport was closed. Outstanding flights were diverted to Misrata, some 180 kilometers to the east. Classes at the university have been suspended for the time being.

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    Power struggle between rival factions

    The two enemy groups are the greatest power factors in Tripoli. Although the 444th Brigade and the Deterrence Unit at times jointly supported the interim government of national unity last year, the two groups have repeatedly clashed in Tripoli this year.

    Reporting to the Libyan Ministry of Defense, Brigade 444 is considered the most disciplined in the North African country. It controls the southern suburbs of Tripoli, the cities of Tarhuna and Bani Walid, and secures the roads connecting the capital to the south of the country.

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    The Al Radaa Force, commanded by Abdel Rauf Karah, is a powerful militia that acts as Tripoli’s police force, targeting both suspected jihadists and common criminals. It describes itself as independent of the interior and defense ministries and controls central and eastern Tripoli, as well as the Mitiga air base, the civilian airport and a prison.

    No political solution in sight

    Civil war broke out in Libya in 2011 after the fall of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Numerous militias are still fighting for power and influence in the oil-rich state. Since 2014, the North African country has been split between hostile east and west factions. The eastern civil war faction under former army general Chalifa Haftar failed in 2020 by storming Tripoli. A ceasefire followed, but a political solution to the conflict seems a long way off. The conflict is additionally fueled by the influence of foreign states. All diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict peacefully have so far been unsuccessful.

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    US diplomat Stephanie Williams heads the UN Assistance Mission in Libya Image: Martial Trezzini/KEYSTONE/picture alliance

    The UN Assistance Mission to Libya expressed concern over the ongoing fighting and called for an end to the violence. The events also have potential implications for efforts to advance the political process and hold national elections. These were actually supposed to take place at the end of 2021, but were then canceled due to a dispute about the legal basis and approved candidates, among other things. A new election date has not yet been set.

    kle/sti (rtr, dpa, afpe, ape)

    Source: DW

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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