Libya: 23 killed, 140 injured from clashes between rival militias
By Mohammad Erteima, Aydogan Kalabalik and Zeynep Tufekci Gulay
TRIPOLI, Libya (AA): The death toll rose to 23 on Sunday from clashes between two rival militias in the Libyan capital, according to authorities.
The Libyan Health Ministry said 140 people were also injured in clashes that erupted in several areas in Tripoli.
“Hospitals and health centers affiliated to the Health Ministry in Tripoli have been targeted and bombed since the early hours of the morning,” it said in a separate statement.
It urged conflicting parties to protect health institutions, emergency centers and ambulances in the city from the armed conflict as the fighting intensified.
The Education Ministry announced it canceled high school graduation exams because of the clashes, while Libyan Wings Airlines temporarily suspended flights to Turkey and Tunisia.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry released a statement calling for “an immediate cessation of the clashes.”
“The escalation of violence also jeopardizes the Libyan people’s determination to achieve lasting peace and stability and their vision of advancing the political process, especially the holding of elections,” it said.
It reiterated Ankara’s support for the establishment of lasting peace and stability in Libya and said Turkey expects “the parties to silence their weapons and focus on solving their problems peacefully as soon as possible.”
The US Embassy in Tripoli said it is “deeply concerned” about violent clashes that caused civilian deaths.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria urged an end to the fighting and dialogue.
“All parties in Libya should stop violence, protect civilians and prevent escalation. Parties should engage in dialogue to resolve conflicts,” the OIC said in a statement.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry urged all parties, national forces and social components in Libya to stop tensions, prioritize the language of dialogue, avoid violence and use common sense to avoid bloodshed.
The Foreign Ministry in Tunisia said it is following the dangerous developments with “deep concern” and encouraged the sides to use common sense, urgently put an end to conflicts and resort to talks to overcome disagreements.
The Algerian Foreign Ministry also voiced “deep concern” for recent developments and implored the parties to immediately end the violence and seek dialogue.
The violence came amid military buildups by forces affiliated with Tripoli-based Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh and troops loyal to Fathi Bashagha, who was appointed by the Tobruk-based parliament as prime minister in March, as both figures claim power and authority in the capital .
Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011 when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted after four decades in power.
*Faruk Zorlu and Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara contributed to this story.
[Photo: A wrecked vehicle burns at the Republic Street as clashes between rival militias spread to several neighborhoods in the Libyan capital Tripoli on August 27, 2022. Photojournalist :Hazem Turkey/AA]
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