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Intense clashes erupted between rival Libyan factions in Tripoli overnight, killing several people, and shooting sporadically continued through the morning, a sign of the instability surrounding a political standoff.

Fighting took place in the Ain Zara region late on Thursday night between units of the Presidential Council’s security force and the Special Deterrence Force, or RADA.

Osama Ali, a spokesman for Libya’s Ambulance and Emergency Services, said casualty figures could rise as reports come in from other hospitals in the area.

The Libyan military’s 444 Brigade intervened to stop the fighting and took up positions in several areas where the clashes took place, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter.

A Presidential Council statement called on both sides to cease hostilities, adding that government and military prosecutors will conduct investigations.

Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011 when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted after four decades in power.

The situation has worsened since March when the Tobruk-based House of Representatives appointed a new government led by former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.

Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, leader of the Tripoli-based national unity government, insists he will only cede authority to a government that comes through an “elected parliament,” raising fears that Libya could slip back into a civil war. (Reuters)

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