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Seven Civilians Fall Victim to Violence Between Militia Groups

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

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Airstrikes intended for militia groups hit civilians killing close to seven individuals in Sabha, a city located in southwestern Libya, said a local official on Tuesday.

According to local officials, the victims included Libyans and foreigners. The official also said that gunmen, who are supposedly involved in the attack, went to the morgue to take the bodies.

“After one or two hours a group of gunmen went to a local hospital in Adri, 35km (22 miles) from Gardah, and they seized the remains of the bodies,” said the official.

The airstrike hit three houses in Gardah, an area north west of Sabha. One of the houses was damaged while the other two were completely destroyed.

It is unclear who was behind the attack nor who the intended target was. Airstrike attacks have been commonly used by forces based in eastern Libya and western Libya.

Press Solidarity, a local news site, stated that one of the intended targets was militant Abdulrahman Belhaj Hesnawi, who also goes by Abu Talha Al-Libi, however, a number of reports about the attack said Hesnawi’s body was not found.

Political chaos in Libya following Gaddafi’s death continues to destabilize the North African country. ISIS and other violent terrorist groups took advantage of Libya’s vulnerable state by establishing a base in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte. Libyan forces fighting ISIS in Sirte have been successful in cornering the terrorist group into a small area in central Sirte.

Libya has been in a deteriorating state since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. After 42 years in power, the Libyan people rose up against Gaddafi in civil unrest demanding a change in leadership. Nine months into the Libyan uprising Gaddafi was killed by Libyan fighters who found the dictator hiding in a sewer tunnel in his hometown Sirte.

In the last five years, ongoing violence and political turmoil has weakened the North African country which created a power vacuum.

Many armed militia groups attempted to take control of Libya’s oil facilities forcing the country’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) to shut down the oil facilities and declare a force majeure. Force majeure was lifted last month and oil production has resumed and a significant increase in oil production from Libya has been noticed.

The political instability weakened the country, however, for the first time after a 42 year dictatorship political dialogue and engagement is more open and accessible to the Libyan people. During Gaddafi’s time, political leadership was reserved for those in his close circle.

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