First Published: 2011-10-15

 

Gathafi loyalists bring back fighting to Tripoli

 

Gun battle erupts in Tripoli between armed supporters of ousted Libyan leader Gathafi, interim government forces.

 

Middle East Online

Back to square one

TRIPOLI - A gun battle erupted in Tripoli on Friday between armed supporters of ousted Libyan leader Moamer Gathafi and interim government forces, leaving three dead and 30 wounded, the new regime said.

Pro-Gathafi gunmen clashed with fighters loyal to the National Transitional Council in Abu Salim, a district around 10 kilometres (six miles) south of the city centre known to harbour supporters of the former Libyan leader.

Tripoli security official Abdelrazaq al-Aradi said that two Gathafi loyalists and one NTC fighter were killed in the clashed while another 30 people were wounded.

Aradi, vice president of the security committee in the Libyan capital, told a news conference that around 50 armed Gathafi supporters were behind the violence, 27 of whom, including four "African mercenaries," were subsequently arrested.

It was the first fighting in the Libyan capital since it fell to anti-Gathafi forces in August, and comes at a key moment in the eight-month conflict.

The new regime is hoping to proclaim the country's liberation in the coming days, and prepare for the transition to an elected government, when NTC forces capture Gathafi's hometown of Sirte where diehard loyalists are making a determined last stand.

Forces from Libya's new regime launched a fierce assault on two areas of Gathafi's hometown on Friday.

0 The latest offensive in Sirte, aimed at mopping up remaining pockets of stiff resistance, came a day after NTC combatants were forced to withdraw under a hail of withering sniper fire.

At least four people were killed and 46 wounded in Friday's fighting in Sirte, said Abdulsalam Abdelkani, a medic at a field hospital in the east of the city.

The head of Tripoli's supreme military council, Abdelhakim Belhaj, pledged tough action against the pro-Gathafi fighters and "dormant cells" of the former regime, which he said would be targeted in the clean-up operation launched on Friday.

In Tripol Abdel Rahman Bussin, the military spokesman for the new regime, said that Friday's fighting broke out in the Abu Salim district after pro-Gathafi demonstrations.

He said Gathafi supporters had also clashed with NTC fighters in other parts of the capital, without giving details. Residents in Abu Salim reported violence in Al-Hai al-Islami, west of the city centre.

A senior official in the military council said earlier that the fighting was "very limited" in scope and that the military had been brought under control by late afternoon.

Many roads in the capital were closed following the violence.

Residents said the Abu Salim protest began in the early afternoon, after Friday prayers, and was prompted by a call to rise from a pro-Gathafi Libyan television presenter earlier in the week, in a message broadcast on Iraqi TV channel Al-Rai.

"We knew that pro-Gathafi forces were going to come out today. We were prepared," said Meftah, a young NTC fighter in Abu Salim.

The district, renowned for its prison, was the last area of the capital to witness resistance after NTC forces stormed the former leader's sprawling and fortified Bab al-Aziziya headquarters on August 23.

 

Blow to Israel: EU court removes Hamas from terror blacklist

Iran to Australia: We warned you about the gunman

Somalia appoints new PM after bitter infighting

Saudi to carry on massive public spending

Key oil producers face uncertain outlook in 2015

Sharp rise in Syria passport applications

Turkey FM visit to Iran highlights Syria divide

UK troops mistreated Iraq detainees in 2004

From bikini to Jihad in Ceuta, Melilla

Tunisia votes Sunday in second round of presidential poll

Islamist militias launch air strike near key Libyan oil terminals

Egypt refers 312 Islamists to military courts

Turkey rejects EU criticism over media arrests

Kerry meets chief Palestinian negotiator

Saudi cleric sparks uproar for showing wife’s face

15,000 march against country’s ‘Islamisation’ in eastern Germany

Gulf stock markets tumble

Australia mourns Sydney cafe siege victims

Hostages flee as police storm Sydney café

Erdogan to EU: Mind your own business!

Syria PM in Iran for talks with key ally

22 Swiss jihadists fighting abroad

#illridewithyou: Australians stand in solidarity with Muslims

Sydney siege 'lone wolf' or IS-led attack?

EU support UN efforts for Aleppo ceasefire

Saudi policeman killed in Riyadh hostage-taking

Saudi king receives Jordan monarch

Palestinians push UN bid to end Israeli occupation

Hostages held in Sydney cafe, Islamic flag held up

Hamas stages show of strength to mark 27th anniversary

France 'neutralised' 200 jihadists in Sahel region of West Africa

Kerry in Rome ahead of Palestinian push at UN

Drive-by shooting kills two Egypt policemen in Sinai Peninsula

Libya pro-government forces push back Islamist fighters

Wave of arrests targets Gulen supporters in Turkey

Security Council fails and Bashir declares victory!

UAE calls on Arabs to invest in future amid ‘rapid changes’

Dawn collision kills more than 10 Egypt fishermen in Gulf of Suez

ICC prosecutor suspends investigations into Darfur war crimes

Libya Islamists form new coalition ahead of expected assault

Sudan minister announces new army offensive against rebels

Yemen troops kill five Qaeda suspects disguised as women

Sea of devotees descends on Karbala in defiance of jihadist threats

Palestinian shot after throwing acid at Israeli family

Saudi to build Africa’s tallest building in Morocco