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New militia clashes in Libya

According to sources in Tripoli, the attackers are members of the Second Security and Support Force, a force led by terrorist Mohammed Bahroun
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PHOTO/AMRU SALAHUDDIEN  -   Fayez Sarraj's Government of National Unity (GNA) fighters during clashes with Libyan National Liberation Army (LNA) forces

Tripoli is experiencing new clashes between rival Libyan militias. The latest clashes took place in the vicinity of Mitiga International Airport, south of the capital, after the Second Security and Support Force attacked with heavy weapons the Leadership Support Force, attached to the Ministry of Interior of the outgoing Government of National Unity of Abdul Hamid Dbeibé, as announced by the Ministry itself and reported by the news portal Al Ain.

"At dawn, an armed group attacked with heavy weapons the patrols of the Support Force of the security directorates in the regions on the equestrian bridge on the airport road," the ministry statement said. "One member of the police was injured and citizens were intimidated, forcing members of the force to deal with the source of the fire and repel the attack," it added.

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AP/YOUSEF MURAD  - Libyan forces deploy in Tripoli, Libya, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022. Clashes broke out in the early hours of Saturday morning between rival militias in Libya's capital

In another statement from the Support Force itself, they said it "was surprised by an insidious attack with heavy weapons by one of the armed formations that arrived and stationed in the area a few days ago". In a Facebook post, the Dbeibé forces also stated that "the bravery and courage of the police officers responded by overturning and seizing one of the attacking vehicles and inflicted heavy losses on them".

The 444th Brigade, affiliated with the Presidential Council, intervened in the clashes to restore calm, according to press reports. However, neither the Support Force nor the Ministry of Interior of the outgoing Government of National Unity (GNU) mentioned the identity of the attacking militia. According to sources in Tripoli, the attackers were the Second Security and Support Force, a group led by terrorist Mohammed Bahroun, who is accused of cooperating with Islamic State, among other crimes. His nickname, 'the fugitive', is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organisation.

The outgoing Interior Ministry confirmed that it was this militia based on a photograph of the car seized at the time of the attack, which was also published by the Support Force on Facebook, attached to its previous statement.

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AFP/MAHMUD TURKIA  - Militias in Martyrs' Square in central Tripoli, Libya

In any case, the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Unity has announced to "take all legal measures regarding the incident", promising at the same time to "strike with an iron fist all those who dared to harm the security of the homeland and the citizen".

Clashes between rival militias have not ceased in recent days in the North African country, raising fears that the conflict could escalate to greater violence. The clashes have intensified since Fathi Bashagha, the Prime Minister appointed by the Tobruk parliament, attempted to enter the capital to install a new government, with the opposition of militias close to Dbeibé.

It was against the backdrop of this tension that a meeting took place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly between UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the President of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed El Menfi. The latest developments in the country, the importance of de-escalation and the holding of elections were the keys they agreed on for a peaceful solution to the Libyan political conflict.