Tripoli, 4 September:
One of Misrata’s largest commercial centres has been destroyed by arsonists who subsequently shot at firefighters attempting to tackle the blaze.
The Libyan Market caught fire at around 6am last Wednesday having been doused in petrol and other flammable liquids and set alight.
When firefighters arrived to try and extinguish the flames, they were twice fired upon by the arsonists, who fled in a white saloon car with tinted windows.
Security officials returned fire and gave chase to the vehicle, but were unable to catch it owing to crowds on the street. The presence of civilians in the area also limited their ability to shoot at the assailants. The officers do not know if they hit the men or not.
None of those seeking to tackle the blaze were injured.
The market had previously been attacked by an RPG, which caused only minor damage. Neither the identity nor the motivations of the arsonists has been confirmed in either case, and nor has anyone been apprehended in connection with the attacks.
The destruction of the Libya Market has deprived local residents of one of their main sources of food and raised concerns in Misrata about a potential deterioration of the security situation.