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 10:27 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
updated 7:00 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material.
updated 7:12 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Yoga, meditation and watching a snake eat a frog alive: these are some of the experiences to be had at this Himalayan yoga retreat.
updated 7:52 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
The world's largest flying aquatic insect, with huge, nightmarish pincers, has been discovered in China's Sichuan province, experts say.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT