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220 Wounded, Dead as Libyan Civil War Rages in Tripoli

Fighting in Tripoli leaves hundreds without electricity, safe cover; Libya reportedly descending into anarchy.
By Dalit Halevi, Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 8/18/2014, 10:09 PM

Militiamen in Tripoli, Libya (illustration)
Militiamen in Tripoli, Libya (illustration)
Reuters

Intense battles raged throughout Tripoli, Libya over the past several days, especially in the southern part of the city where there are government offices and which is close to the international airport. 

The current campaign began on July 13. Since then, several groups - including terrorist organizations affiliated with the jihadist Ansar al-Sharia movement which opposes democracy and seeks to impose Islamic law on the country. 

According to Reuters, the primary conflict is between fighters from Misrata - east of Tripoli - and militia from the western Zintan region. The weeks-long battle has thrown the North African country into anarchy; Zintanis and Misratis worked together to topple former dictator Muammar Gaddafi but have since fallen out.

Both have rejected attempts at a compromise - a proposal to establish an advisory council (or "shura") of different leaders and a temporary truce - and blame the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups for sowing discord between them. 

According to reports from public officials in Libya, a total of 220 people have been killed or wounded in a 48-hour period, and residential areas are subjected to mortar and rocket fire around the clock.

In addition, several neighborhoods have been cut off from electricity, and trade has been stymied from fear of injury and death. Hundreds of people have fled their homes and attempted to find refuge elsewhere throughout the city, officials said.

Hope has remained for the Libyan government to fight back, since the terrorists are thought not to possess any warplanes and the assault has been mainly through mortar and artillery fire.

The Libyan government only has an outdated and highly limited air force, officials say, and would not be able to counter air attacks.