Fighting took place in the Ain Zara region between units of the Presidential Council’s security force and the Special Deterrence Force.

The fighting was the first in months to cause civilian casualties in the capital.
The fighting was the first in months to cause civilian casualties in the capital. (Reuters)

At least 13 people have been killed in armed clashes between two security forces near the Libyan capital Tripoli. 

The fighting "killed 13 people, among them three civilians including a child aged 11, and wounded 30," the ambulance service told news channel Libya al Ahrar on Friday.

Fighting took place in the Ain Zara region overnight between Thursday and Friday between units of the Presidential Council’s security force and the Special Deterrence Force, or RADA. 

It later spread into other areas, trapping 60 students in university dormitories until they were rescued, Osama Ali of the ambulance service told Al Ahrar.

Hundreds of women attending wedding ceremonies in the Fornaj district were also trapped.

The Libyan military’s 444 Brigade intervened to stop the fighting and took up positions in several areas where the clashes took place.

A Presidential Council statement called on both sides to cease hostilities, adding that government and military prosecutors will conduct investigations.

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Growing tension

Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011 when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted after four decades in power.

The situation has worsened since March when the Tobruk-based House of Representatives appointed a new government led by former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.

Abdulhamid Dbeibah, leader of the Tripoli-based national unity government, insists he will only cede authority to a government that comes through an “elected parliament,” raising fears that Libya could slip back into a civil war.

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Source: AA