Health Ministry | At least 23 people are killed and 140 injured after confrontations.

The escalation poses a threat to upend the relative calm that has prevailed in Libya for the majority of the last two years.


CAIRO — Amid a protracted political deadlock, deadly battles between militias backed by Libya's two competing governments broke out in the country's capital on Saturday.


The Health Ministry reported that at least 23 individuals were murdered and 140 more were injured. 64 families were also evacuated from the vicinity of the battle, it was said.


The escalation poses a threat to upend the relative calm that has prevailed in Libya for the majority of the last two years. After a NATO-backed rebellion that overthrew and murdered longtime tyrant Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, the oil-rich country descended into turmoil.


Mustafa Baraka, a comedian well-known for his social media films ridiculing militias and corruption, was one of the dead. According to emergency services spokesman Malek Merset, Baraka passed away after being shot in the chest.


Emergency services, according to Merset, are still attempting to evacuate people and wounded who are trapped in the conflict that broke out overnight and into Saturday evening.


In a statement, the Health Ministry claimed that ambulance teams were prevented from evacuating residents, hospitals and medical facilities in the capital were shelled, and these actions "amount to war crimes."


The Tripoli city council urged the international community to "defend civilians in Libya" and chastised the ruling political class for the deteriorating conditions in the capital.


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