Mahmud Turkia AFP/File

There have been varying reports of casualties as rival militias exchanged gunfire in the Libyan capital; it comes as the North African country's political crisis deepens.

Iran PressAfrica: Gunfire and loud blasts were heard in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Saturday as clashes broke out between rival factions.

Libyan media, cited by the AFP news agency, reported multiple casualties from the clashes but did not give a specific death toll. Other media outlets gave varying reports of deaths, including 12 people dead and 87 others wounded.

Health official Malek Merset told The Associated Press that Mustafa Baraka, a comedian known for his social media videos, had died, and five people were wounded. Reuters News Agency cited medical sources as saying that two people, a man, and a woman, had been killed.

The clashes involve groups that back the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU), led by Abdulhamid Dbeibah, against supporters of former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, backed by the House of Representatives in the eastern city of Tobruk.

The fighting broke out between groups armed with both heavy and light weapons.

The clashes came a month after a bout of fighting shook the relative peace in the Libyan capital, killing several civilians. 

The UN Support Mission in Libya voiced concern over the fighting. It said that medium and heavy shelling had occurred in residential neighborhoods.


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