- The confrontations between armed groups escalated throughout the night and into the early hours of Tuesday morning
- The detention of Mahmoud Hamza, the commander of the 444 Brigade, had triggered the initial outbreak of violence in the city
TRIPOLI:In the latest update, clashes between two prominent armed factions in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, have resulted in 27 fatalities and 106 injuries, as reported by the Emergency Medicine Centre on Wednesday. The confrontations between armed groups escalated throughout the night and into the early hours of Tuesday morning, marking the most severe outbreak of violence the city has witnessed this year.
Nevertheless, the military leader at the heart of the strife between opposing militias in Tripoli has been released from detention. The detention of Mahmoud Hamza, the commander of the 444 Brigade, had triggered the initial outbreak of violence in the city. According to sources cited in a Reuters report, he was released on Tuesday evening by the Special Deterrence Force.
During the past year, the 444 Brigade and the Special Deterrence Force had both lent support to the interim Government of National Accord (GNA) during brief skirmishes. The ongoing turmoil in Libya stems from a complex history, beginning with the overthrow and subsequent killing of its long-standing ruler, Muammar Gaddafi, following a bombing campaign led by the US-led NATO military alliance in 2011. The ensuing chaos and factional divisions escalated into a regional proxy conflict fueled by foreign powers, who flooded the nation with weaponry and mercenaries.
Since 2015, Libya has been divided between the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord situated in Tripoli and lawmakers based in Tobruk, aligned with renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar. The Government of National Unity of Libya received backing from nations such as Qatar, Turkey, certain European countries, and the United Nations. Conversely, countries like Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE lent their support to the army of Khalifa Haftar, a retired general located in Benghazi and Tobruk.
These two rival factions have been vying for control over the country for multiple years. Following a year of intense conflict that led to advances by the government of unity toward the capital city of Tripoli, the warring parties announced a ceasefire in August of the previous year.