Libya militia clashes spread beyond Tripoli

TRIPOLI: Clashes in Libya spread from Tripoli to the western town of Zawiya near Tunisia’s border, where a large oil port is located, killing four people over the last two days, local town council officials said on Thursday.
Foreign governments have mostly closed their embassies and evacuated staff after three weeks of clashes turned Libya’s two main cities - Tripoli and Benghazi - into warzones in the worst fighting since the NATO-backed war against Muammar Gaddafi.
Three years after Gaddafi’s fall, Libya’s government has been unable to tame rival brigades of former rebel fighters who have allied themselves with competing political factions in a struggle over post-war spoils. The fighting in Zawiya is part of a broader struggle between two loose confederations of former rebels and their political allies whose rivalries have exploded into street battles that have killed more than 200 people in the past three weeks. Brigades allied to town of Zintan - based in the city some 130 km (80 miles) southwest of Tripoli - and their anti-Islamist Qaaqaa and Al-Sawaiq units are battling Islamist-leaning Libya Shield brigades loyal to the central, coastal town of Misrata who say they are fighting former Gaddafi allies.

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