Libyan fighting leaves scores dead

Civilians die in clashes between troops and fighters in Benghazi, while rocket kills Egyptian workers in Tripoli.

    At least 36 people have been killed in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, many of them civilians, in clashes between Libyan Special Forces and Islamist fighters, medical and security sources say.

    The deaths occurred on Saturday night and on Sunday morning.

    Another 23 people, all Egyptian workers, were killed in the capital Tripoli when a rocket hit their home on Saturday during clashes between rival militias battling over the city's main airport, the Egyptian state news agency reported on Sunday.

    In the last two weeks, Libya has descended into its deadliest violence since the 2011 war that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, prompting the US, the UN and Turkey to pull their diplomatic staff out of the North African country.

    With the central government unable to impose order, two rival militias are fighting in Tripoli, while army units are trying to push out Islamist fighters who have set up camps on the outskirts of Benghazi.

    The US evacuated its embassy in Libya on Saturday, driving diplomats across the border into Tunisia under heavy military escort after escalating clashes broke out near the embassy compound in Tripoli.

    Libya's Western partners worry the OPEC oil-producing country is becoming increasingly polarised between the two main factions of competing militia brigades and their political allies, whose battle is shaping the country's transition.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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