Clashes in Libyan capital leave 23 dead, at least 140 injured

Clashes in Libyan capital leave 23 dead, at least 140 injured
Update: 28 August 2022 15:55
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Clashes have come in the wake of a recent military build-up of rival militia groups around Tripoli, according to reports.

Clashes that erupted between rival militia groups in Libyan capital Tripoli left at least 23 dead and 140 injured on Saturday evening.

While there are reports that the clashes began with a militia group attacking the base, or firing on the convoy, of a rival group, Turkish state news agency AA cited the Libyan Health Ministry saying that hospitals and health centers were also targeted in clashes.

Clashes come in the wake of a build-up of rival forces in the city over the past week, and is an indication that the standoff between the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU) under Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and Fathi Bashagha, selected as prime minister-designate by the Libyan House of Representatives and backed by eastern-based military strongman Khalifa Haftar, is about to turn once again into heavy fighting.

Witnesses told Reuters that forces aligned with Bashagha tried to gain new ground in Tripoli through assaults from several directions on Saturday, but a major military convoy turned back towards the coastal city of Misrata before reaching the capital.

The Foreign Ministry in Turkey, who has a military presence around Tripoli and earlier helped GNU forces fight off an assault by Haftar's forces in 2020, released a statement calling for "an immediate cessation of the clashes."

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry urged all parties, in s similar statement, to stop tensions, prioritize the language of dialogue, and use common sense to avoid bloodshed.

Dbeibah had announced in February plans to hold parliamentary elections in June, but he later proposed the elections to be postponed to late 2022.