Clashes broke out in Libya as seizure of a powerful armed faction commander was reported.
Tensions in the country’s capital city, Tripoli on August 14 escalated as clashes broke out resulting in flights to the city’s main airport being suspended residents say, according to Reuters, August 15.
One of the residents based in the Furnaj district stated, “we have heard gunfire for almost two hours now and we do not know what will happen. We fear for our safety,”
444 brigade’s head, Mahmoud Hamza was detained at Mitiga airport by the Special Deterrence Force, according to local media and a source within the brigade.
The 444th brigade have a tight grip on the city of Tripoli.
Sources at Mitiga stated that as a result of the chaos, all flights to and from the airport are being rerouted to the city of Misrata’s airport.
Misrata is approxiametly 180km away from Mitiga airport.
Any sustained fighting between the two factions, the most powerful in the capital after a period of military consolidation, could pose significant risks.
This week’s clashes are the worst to hit Tripoli for months, though violence has been present amongst armed factions in some other parts of the country’s northwest in recent weeks.
A turmoil-stricken country, Libya has faced two civil wars in less than a decade with the first conflict breaking out in 2011.
Libya’s second civil war lasted for six years, from 2014 to 2020.
The country, led by ruthless dictator Muammar Gaddafi for over four decades until 2011, has had little ceasefire or security since 2011’s NATO-backed uprising and its split in 2014 between conflicting western and eastern factions. Major conflict has been halted since 2020, however there is no sign of a long-lasting political solution to establishing peace.
A video which circulated on social media shows tracer fire streaming past an apartment building as the sound of gunshots echoed.
A Reuters journalist, in Libya’s western town of Ain Zara, said that near where the clashes were taking place, armed men had closed a major road in the area.