Twelve-year-old Libyan boy among 13 killed after fierce clashes erupt in Tripoli
A 12-year-old Libyan boy was among at least 13 people killed when armed clashes between rival militias broke out across Libya’s capital Tripoli on Friday, according to reports.
At least 13 people were killed and 30 wounded, according to AFP, which reported battles between Al-Radaa force and the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade, who form the Presidential Guard, in neighbourhoods in eastern Tripoli.
The death toll is expected to rise, medics told the news agency, while 60 students were trapped by the fighting in university dormitories until they were evacuated by the ambulance service, AFP added. Flights from the nearby Mitiga Airport were diverted to Misrata.
The fighting "killed 13 people... and wounded 30," the ambulance service told news channel Libya al-Ahrar.
Osama Ali, a spokesperson for Libyan emergency services, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that fighting erupted in the early hours of the morning in the Ain Zara area.
Armed groups affiliated with the presidential council, including the Special Deterrence Force - known as Rada - and Libyan Presidential Guard - which is manned by Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade fighters - were involved in the clashes, according to The New Arab's Arabic-language service.
"[Rada] attacked the headquarters of the Presidential Guard in the Ain Zara area to take revenge, and clashes expanded to include the headquarters of the Presidential Guard in Zawiyat al-Dahmani," Ali bin Fadel, an officer in Libya's Joint Security Operations Room said.
It began with tit-for-tat arrests between the Presidential Guard and Rada, according to Fadel.
Clashes spread to the neighbourhoods of Al-Furnaj, Al-Sabaa, and Tariq Al-Shouk, causing casualties and severe damage.
Fadel said there were dead and wounded in the ranks of both parties, but stated "so far, their number is not known", as residents said that both a man and a child had been killed in the capital, according to Reuters.
TRT later reported that three people had been killed and two wounded following the clashes, The New Arab has not been able to verify this.
Ali stated authorities are waiting for hospitals and private clinics to be officially informed of the total number of cases received.
The Libyan military’s 444 Brigade intervened to stop the fighting and opened safe passages for emergency teams to access areas affected by the fighting, according to Fadel.
The Presidential Council called on both sides to cease hostilities, and urged the Attorney General and military prosecutors to conduct investigations into the incident.
Over recent weeks, political shifts in Libya have pointed to a possible realignment among power brokers and armed factions that could prompt renewed fighting.
Libya has been teetering on the edge of chaos for months after the eastern-based parliament rejected the unity government in Tripoli, which was installed through a UN-backed process last year, and appointed a rival administration.