Libya’s UN-backed government has announced a state of emergency in the Libya’s capital, Tripoli, and its outskirts after several days of fierce fighting between rival armed groups.
At least 39 people, including civilians, have been killed in the violence and nearly 100 others wounded.
Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 uprising that overthrew and killed longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
The country is currently governed by two rival authorities backed by an array of powerful armed groups: the Tripoli-based GNA, which is recognised by the UN as Libya’s official government; and the Tobruk-based House of Representatives in the east of the country, which has the support of renegade General Khalifa Haftar.
The fighting in the capital erupted when armed groups from Tripoli clashed with others from a town to the south, vying for power in the administration based in the country’s west.
Street battles pitted the Seventh Brigade, or Kaniyat, from Tarhouna, a town 65km southeast of Tripoli, against the Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigades and the Nawasi, two of the capital’s largest factions.
The Kaniyat and other groups from outside Tripoli have noticed the success of rivals inside the city with growing unease. Reports about the wealth, power and extravagant lifestyles of some Tripoli rebel commanders have fuelled resentment.