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Two days of clashes near Libya capital leave 10 dead

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Tripoli (AFP)

Two days of clashes between rival militias near Libya's capital Tripoli have left 10 people dead and 41 wounded, the health ministry said Thursday.

Fighting between armed groups erupted Wednesday despite a truce deal four months ago that had halted deadly battles in the city.

A medical source told AFP that fierce clashes hit an area some 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Tripoli on Thursday, after fighting around an airport 25 kilometres from the capital the previous day.

The violence has pitted the Tripoli Protection Force, an alliance of militias from the city, against the Seventh Brigade group from the town of Tarhuna.

The health ministry said that there were women and children among the wounded.

Tripoli was plagued by militia clashes that killed at least 117 people and wounded more than 400 between late August and late September.

The United Nations mission in Libya on Wednesday condemned a "military mobilisation" in southern Tripoli and warned groups not to break a ceasefire agreement it brokered in September.

The Seventh Brigade has maintained its positions around Tripoli since the accord was reached, a move that has angered rival militias.

Libya has been torn between rival administrations and a myriad of militias since the overthrow and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The main armed groups in Tripoli say they are loyal to the internationally backed Government of National Accord (GNA), but officials have struggled to exert real control over the fighters.

The GNA announced security reforms in the wake of the bloodshed last year, aimed at curbing the power of militias in the capital.

A rival administration in the east of Libya is backed by strongman Khalifa Haftar and his self-proclaimed Libyan National Army.

The UN is pushing for elections to help stabilise Libya, but chronic violence has delayed plans for the vote.

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