Escalating violence and hostility in Libya is prompting international actors to take notice. And as armed groups fight in the streets, injuring civilians, the question stands, when will Libya reach a tipping point?
Gunfire erupted in Libya’s city of Tripoli after two armed factions supporting the country’s UN-backed government clashed, according to AFP.
The conflict, which began on the night of May 28th, was sparked when a member of the 444 Brigade was arrested. This caused tension between the Al-Raada Force and the 444 Brigade, both loyal to interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah’s Tripoli-based government.
The clash spanned a few different neighborhoods and as a result, some civilians were mildly injured during the conflict. The Tripoli Rescue Service expressed concern over An elderly man “was injured in the arm by shrapnel as he fled his home in Ain Zara by car,” the Tripoli Rescue Service said on its Facebook page.
The escalation led to the deployment of armored vehicles and fighters in busy commercial and residential areas. The conflict temporarily subsided but resumed with intensified heavy and light weapons fire, accompanied by the sound of ambulance sirens, in the eastern suburbs of Ain Zara and Fornaj until early on May 29th.
The current stability in Tripoli is so unpredictable that the University of Tripoli announced it would have to “close its doors” and suspend exams as a security measure.
Fighting ceased after the Stabilization Support Agency intervened.
This conflict comes in the wake of recent political turmoil in Libya, with Dbeibah’s government having carried out drone and airstrikes near the city of Zawiya in the name of targeting drug smuggling and people trafficking. In the crossfire, two civilians were killed and others injured.
The eastern-based government responded to Dbeibah’s government regarding their true intention of the recent violence, stating that they were using operations to “settle political scores rather than fight against traffickers as claimed.”
Ignoring these claims, Libya’s Tripoli-based government vowed that “The security operation will continue until the achievement of its objectives.”
In response to the conflicts and violence occurring, the US Embassy in Tripoli said it was monitoring the situation with “concern amid reports of weapons being used in civilian areas and the potential for further violence.”