Libya's internationally recognized government suspended its interior minister on Friday, saying his handling of street protests and a violent crackdown against them would be investigated.

Iran PressAfrica: The move coincides with reports of growing friction between Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), and Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, an influential figure from the port city and military power base of Misrata.

In a statement late on Friday, the GNA said Bashagha has been temporarily suspended and will face an inquiry on his statements about the protests and incidents in Tripoli and other cities. 

"He will be questioned on the permits granted to the demonstrators, the security arrangements in place, and the violations committed", it said.

Bashagha, who was nominated in 2018, played a central role during a 14-month offensive on Tripoli by eastern-based forces that the GNA repelled in June with military support from Turkey.

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011 after an uprising that toppled and killed leader Muammar Qaddafi.

In April 2019, Haftar forces, known as the 'Libyan National Army' with the support of several European and Arab countries, including Egypt and the UAE launched an attack on the Libyan capital, Tripoli which they failed to penetrate into the city, and due to the strong resistance of the forces of the government of National Accord, they were forced to retreat from the border of Tripoli and Tarhona. 207/216

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