Libya unity forces repel attack near Tripoli

Forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed government said they repelled an attack by rival groups east of Tripoli after three days of clashes.

Published: 13th July 2017 12:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th July 2017 12:18 AM   |  A+A-


TRIPOLI: Forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed government said they on Wednesday repelled an attack by rival groups east of Tripoli after three days of clashes.

Witnesses said the fighting pitted pro-Government of National Accord forces against fighters loyal to former prime minister Khalifa Ghweil, who was ousted when the GNA came to power and refuses to recognise it.

In an operation launched at dawn Wednesday, the pro-GNA force "took control of the city of Garabulli, its key facilities, fuel stations and main entrances", it said on its Facebook page. 

Mayor Hussein Bu Ghnima confirmed the clashes had ended.

He said pro-GNA forces remained in the coastal city, 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of the capital, to secure it and clear roads that had been blocked by the fighting.

He said the fighting had left serious damage and civilian casualties.

Clashes on Monday and Tuesday left at least four dead including two foreign workers, as well as 21 wounded, the health ministry said.

The fighting broke out when Ghweil's forces, ousted from Tripoli in recent weeks, regrouped around Garabulli and prepared to attack the capital, witnesses said.

Pro-GNA forces backed by dozens of tanks and pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns deployed east of the capital heading for Garabulli at the weekend, the witnesses said.

Libya has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with rival authorities and militias battling for control of the oil-rich country.

The North African country has rival administrations, with the authorities in the east not recognising the Tripoli-based GNA.

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