Libya says death toll from Tripoli clashes climbs to 96

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — The death toll from weeks of fighting between armed groups in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, has climbed to at least 96 people, including civilians, authorities said Friday.

The violence has shattered a U.N.-brokered cease-fire reached earlier this month. In addition to the fatalities, the clashes have wounded 444 people. Also, 16 people are missing.

The Health Ministry said the fighting, which first erupted on Aug. 26, has also displaced at least 123 families from their homes.

On Thursday, 11 people, including eight civilians, were killed and 33 others were wounded in southern Tripoli, the ministry added.

The U.N. mission tweeted on Thursday, urging warring parties “to immediately cease all acts of violence in Tripoli.”

The fighting between militias allied to the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli and an armed group from the nearby town of Tarhouna, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) south, underscores Libya’s lingering lawlessness since the uprising that toppled and later killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Under the U.N.-brokered cease-fire two weeks ago, Tripoli’s airport — the only functioning airport in the capital — also reopened.

But the Mitiga airport was closed down again on Monday amid the flare-up, diverting traffic to the airport in the nearby militia-controlled city of Misrata.

Libya is currently governed by rival authorities in Tripoli and the country’s east, each of which are backed by an array of militias. Other armed groups have carved out fiefdoms across the country, with many profiting from smuggling and extortion.

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