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Intelligence HQ in Libyan capital under grenade attack, militias clash outside

Published time: November 04, 2012 11:19
Edited time: November 04, 2012 21:11

Members of a Libyan rapid unit brigade in charge of clearing unlawfully occupied buildings from militias run to secure an area during an operation in Tripoli on September 23, 2012.(AFP Photo / Gianluigi Guercia)

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Libya’s intelligence headquarters has been struck by a rocket propelled grenade as two rival militia groups clashed in Tripoli, says Al Arabiya TV.

At least five people have been injured, while the building has been partially destroyed, RT's Paula Slier reports.

According to Al Jazeera the two militia groups clashed as one gang was trying to rescue one of its members, who had been captured by the other gang.

The Central Tripoli Hospital also came under fire as militiamen attacked one another.

Earlier on Sunday a car bomb targeted a police station in the city of Benghazi injuring three police officers.

The attacks come just days after some 100 civilians and self-proclaimed rebels broke into the Libyan National General Congress, forcing parliament to postpone a vote on a new cabinet.

More than a year after Muammar Gaddafi`s regime was dismantled, the government is still struggling to subdue violence between armed militias.

There are some 250,000 armed men in Libya at the moment, Libya’s Warriors Affairs Commission reports. Some of them claim to be government militia forces, while others openly proclaim their opposition.

Given these figures and the amount of freely circulating weapons, it's little wonder that armed clashes erupt in Libya on a weekly basis.

Some of the violence has been so far reaching that even the capitol, Tripoli has frequently faced clashes between rival factions.

In late September the government tried to get all uncontrolled militiamen out of Tripoli by imposing an ultimatum. The plan did not stop violence in the capital, but rather added more confusion, during clashes on Sunday both sides claimed to be pro-government militias.

Whilst under Gaddafi's rule many of the rival tribes coexisted relatively peacefully, the new authorities seem to hold little sway over them, leading to a volatile situation.

Meanwhile, a separatist movement is also growing in Libya. On Saturday several thousand Libyans rallied for the semi-autonomy of the Cyrenaica region in the country`s east, which has vast oil resources.

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