A fighter loyal to the internationally recognized Libyan Government of National Accord fires his weapon on September 7 during clashes with forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar in Ain Zara, one of the outer neighborhoods of the capital Tripoli. (Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)

New Fighting in Libya Leaves at Least 3 Dead

A counter-offensive by forces loyal to Libya’s Government of National Accord has left three GNA troops dead in the capital Tripoli. The fighting, which began on Saturday and follows weeks of relative calm, is being directed against militias aligned with Khalifa Haftar, a renegade general based in the eastern city of Benghazi. Haftar’s Libyan National Army swept out of the east in April, first heading southwest to capture vital oil fields, and then north toward Tripoli, where the LNA has largely been bogged down outside the city and in its outer neighborhoods. Spokespersons for the LNA say its troops remain in those positions despite the latest fighting. Haftar refuses to recognize the GNA, which is led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and has backing from the United Nations and numerous western nations. It arose in 2015 from the chaos that followed the 2011 overthrow of dictator Muamar Gaddafi but has had difficulty overcoming opposition not only from Haftar, but from tribal militias scattered around the country. In addition, it is reported that Islamic State, defeated in Syria and Iraq, has gained a foothold in the Libyan desert, like it has elsewhere in North Africa.

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