[QODLink]
Africa

Heavy fighting rocks Libyan capital

Rivals battle across Tripoli for hours with anti-aircraft guns and grenades, killing at least one.

Last updated: 08 Nov 2013 10:23
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Libya's government is finding it tough to contain former fighters in a country awash with weapons [AP]

Rival armed groups have clashed for hours across Tripoli, sending residents fleeing for cover and killing at least one person and wounding 12 in the worst fighting for months in the Libyan capital.

The second outbreak of street fighting within days shows how the government is struggling to contain the armed groups that helped overthrow Muammar Gaddafi two years ago but kept their guns after the NATO-backed uprising.

The clashes erupted after the leader of an armed group, Nuri Friwan, died from his wounds after he was shot on Tuesday at a checkpoint manned by fighters from Soug al-Jomaa, an eastern Tripoli district.

Dozens of armed men, some riding in pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns and others with rocket propelled grenades came from the western city of Misrata to avenge his death and attack a rival group in Tripoli, witnesses said.

Gunfire broke out while young people were enjoying a water pipe on the seafront and families were shopping or dining at the start of the weekend.

Toyota trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns arrived in several parts of Tripoli, opening fire as they tried to storm Soug al-Jomaat, witnesses said. Panicked diners ran for cover, while drivers abandoned their cars.

The Radisson Blu, one of Tripoli's best hotels, evacuated some frightened guests after windows in the reception area were smashed by stray gunfire, an employee said.

Rival groups fired rocket-propelled grenades at the attackers from a bridge, witnesses said. Heavy shooting
could be also heard in at least three other districts close to the foreign ministry, state television building and embassies.

Gunmen were seen loading anti-aircraft guns mounted on trucks near the ministry. 

Government struggles

When Libyan leader Mouammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in October 2011, the rebels were hailed as heroes for bringing an end to more than four decades of his rule.

But since then, they have formed armed groups with different ideologies and motivations.

Many factions have rejected the government's demands to turn in their weapons or join the national security forces, and a patchwork of armed groups effectively controls much of the country.

Libya's government is finding it harder to contain the former fighters in a country awash with weapons.

348

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
join our mailing list