Skip to main content

Militias clash in Tripoli after commander's death

By Jomana Karadsheh, CNN
updated 8:50 AM EST, Fri November 8, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: At least two people killed, security officials say
  • Nuri Fairwan, a commander of a Misrata militia, died of injuries he suffered Tuesday
  • Fairwan was hurt when a checkpoint dispute escalated to violence
  • The fighting is some of the most intense in Tripoli since the fall of Gadhafi in 2011

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Gun battles between rival militias raged in several parts of the Libyan capital on Thursday night with no immediate reports of casualties.

The sound of anti-aircraft gunfire and blasts echoed across Tripoli in one of the most intense incidents of militia infighting in the city since the fall of the Moammar Gadhafi regime two years ago.

At least two people were killed and at least 29 were injured Thursday night, according to the state news agency LANA, citing security officials in the Libyan capital.

The clashes, between a militia from the city of Misrata and Tripoli militiamen, broke out after a Misrata militia commander died as a result of injuries he suffered on Tuesday. Commander Nuri Fairwan was injured Tuesday in fighting between the two militias that began with a dispute at a Tripoli checkpoint and escalated.

Witnesses in parts of the capital affected by the clashes said residential buildings and a five-star hotel were hit by the gunfire.

Tripoli's Radisson Blu Al Mahary Hotel, which houses Western diplomats and is frequented by journalists and business guests, was hit by several rounds of anti-aircraft gunfire, which caused some damage including shattered glass windows.

Hotel staff and guests were led to the basement during the heavy fighting in the vicinity.

Libya's big power play yet to come

More than two years after the end of Libya's civil war, the country remains awash in weapons and militias with competing interests.

Many Libyans are concerned about the deteriorating security situation in the country and the increasing power of militias who continue to operate freely.

The weakness of Libya's central government and its inability to build an army and police force was underscored last month with the kidnapping of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan by a militia in Tripoli, which seized him for a few hours before another militia released him.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:14 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
updated 8:18 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
updated 6:18 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
updated 5:43 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 7:39 AM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT