Fighting Breaks Out Between Libyan Ex-Rebels, 4 Die

Misrata, Tripoli fighters battle over prisoners
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2012 8:43 AM CST
Fighting Breaks Out Between Libyan Ex-Rebels, 4 Die
Libyans gunmen gather along Zawiyah Street in Tripoli on January 3, 2012, after a gun fight erupted, as a group of former rebels from Misrata clashed with a unit of ex-fighters from the capital.   (Getty Images)

A street battle broke out in Tripoli yesterday between two militias that had once been allies against Moammar Gadhafi. Around noon a group of fighters from Misrata drove their gun-mounted pickup trucks up to a makeshift prison run by a Tripoli militia, and demanded they hand over two prisoners, the Wall Street Journal reports. Soon, automatic rifles and machine gunfire was exchanged, and four people were killed.

Three other militias rushed in to try to mediate the conflict, and nearby mosques shouted messages from their loudspeakers like, “Libyans, stop killing Libyans.” The Misrata militia was eventually driven out. The military has sought to restore calm, but militias throughout Tripoli have now set up checkpoints and patrols, as rumors swirled that the Misratans would try again. It’s unclear who they were after, or why—some witnesses said they were criminals accused of killings in Misrata, others said they were jailed comrades. (Read more Libya stories.)

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