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Clashes intensify in Libya's Tripoli

Posted on Aug 13 2014 | IANS

Tripoli, Aug 13 : Clashes between rival militias intensified in Libya's capital Tripoli as bullets and rocket-fire poured into neighbourhoods and civilian facilities, witnesses said Wednesday.

Some long-range rocket propelled grenades fell on civilian houses in the Ghot al-Shaal and al-Drebe regions in Tripoli, killing four people and injuring at least eight others, a security source told Xinhua.

Witnesses said a large number of cars and shops were burnt as a result of the bombing, prompting many local people to flee the area.

Another source said the recent fighting also set the Zawiya oil depot ablaze for the third time, triggering a series of explosions and a huge fire with heavy smoke being seen from miles away.

Since July 13, clashes between Islamist armed groups and pro-secular militias in Tripoli have left at least 102 people dead and 452 others wounded.

Meanwhile, in eastern Benghazi, fierce fighting has continued between the army and Islamist militant groups, who are now in control of some of the army's camps.

The UN mission in Libya Tuesday condemned the recent clashes between rival militias in the country's capital and called on all parties to respond positively to its mediation efforts, but it has yet to receive a response to its appeals from any groups.

"The mission deplores the rise in the number of civilian casualties and expresses deep concern about the shortages in medical supplies, the displacement of thousands of families the huge destruction of residences and infrastructure and the halt in the economic activity," the UN spokesperson's office said.

Libya has witnessed a drastic escalation of violence since the 2011 turmoil, which toppled its former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The recent deadly clashes between rival armed factions in major cities like Tripoli and Benghazi have raised fears that the conflict could turn into a full-fledged civil war.

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