Rival militias clashed in the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Saturday, a day after an attack by gunmen on anti-militia protesters killed more than 40 people.
Fighters from Battalion 101, an army-linked militia, fought with insurgents coming from the western town of Misrata in the Tripoli suburb of Tajoura, Libyan state news agency LANA reported.
“We agreed on Saturday night with some brigades coming from Misrata not to enter Tripoli to prevent bloodshed,” Battalion 101 chief Mesbah al-Harnah told LANA.
“But early today they launched a surprise attack on the battalion,” he said, adding that one person was killed and eight wounded.
The Interior Ministry said that 43 people were killed and more than 400 wounded on Friday in Tripoli when gunmen opened fire on demonstrators, who were demanding an end to the presence of armed militias.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) strongly condemned the violence in Tripoli and called for an immediate stop to the bloodshed. In a statement, it urged “Libyans to exercise maximum restraint and resort to peaceful means to resolve their differences.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the upsurge of violence, saying it undermines the push to democracy. “Libyans did not risk their lives in their 2011 revolution for this violence to continue,” Mr. Kerry said. “Libyans fought their revolution to establish a democratic system in which the voices of the Libyan people could be heard through peaceful means.”