Second day of clashes outside Tripoli


Clashes between rival Libyan factions east of Tripoli extended into a second day, keeping the coastal road shut and preventing residents returning to their homes, a local town council spokesman said.

Fighting began on Sunday when armed groups opposed to the UN-backed government in Tripoli tried to approach the capital and met resistance from rival groups aligned with government.

It is the latest in a series of attacks by armed opponents of the Government of National Accord (GNA), which have continued despite GNA attempts to win the co-operation of militias operating in the city and calm violence inside or close to the capital.
“At the moment we can hear heavy gunfire,” said Al-Shareef Jaballah, a spokesman for the municipality of Garabulli, about 50 km from Tripoli, speaking to Reuters by telephone.

He said local officials had reports of two people killed by fighting, one an Egyptian national.
“The clashes have resulted in severe damage to houses and shops because of indiscriminate shelling and forced a large number of residents to flee,” he said.
“The coastal road is still closed. Residents who fled are trapped because of the closure of the road.”

The GNA has struggled to impose its authority since arriving in Tripoli in March last year. It has been rejected by factions controlling eastern Libya, where military commander Khalifa Haftar is consolidating his position and installing military-appointed mayors.

As temperatures have climbed, parts of western Libya have again been suffering from power and water cuts that residents have criticised the GNA for failing to resolve.