Fresh gun battles erupt in Tripoli as rival Libyan militias clash

Fighting comes day after attack on protesters left over 40 dead in Libyan capital

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The Independent Online

Fresh clashes between rival militias on the outskirts of the Libyan capital killed at least one and wounded a dozen others on Saturday, a day after a militia attack on protesters left over 40 dead.

Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has appealed for calm as government forces struggle to control militias, Islamist militants and other former fighters who refuse to surrender their arms after helping to oust Muammar Gaddafi.

Violence erupted on Friday when protesters were fired upon as they marched on the Tripoli headquarters of the Misrata militia to demand that it leave the city. The clashes have been some of the worst street fighting in the capital since the revolt against Gaddafi two years ago.

Battles started again on Saturday to the east of Tripoli in Tajoura, where rival militiamen clashed at checkpoints set up to stop more Misrata fighters entering the city, Mohammad Sasi, a local member of Libya's congress said.

At least one person was killed and 15 more wounded, a Health Ministry official said.

“I urge that no forces at all to enter Tripoli,” Zeidan said in a public speech. “It would have negative and catastrophic consequences.”

Misrata militiamen remained in a base near Tripoli airport on Saturday in a stand off with government forces and local pro government militias as they move against the group.

Libya has sought to bring all militias under control by putting them on the government payroll and assigning them to protect government offices. But fighters often battle for control of local areas and remain loyal to their own commanders.