By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 17 January 2014:
A police officer was killed in the early hours of this morning during armed clashes in . . .[restrict]Tripoli’s Sidi Khalifa area near the central hospital. The Ministry of Health has reported extensive damage to one of the hospital buildings as the violence spilled over into its emergency ward.
The news agency LANA has reported that Police Lieutenant Ahmed Banoun was killed in fighting between gunmen when he found himself caught up in the clashes. The Head of Tripoli’s Security Directorate, Colonel Mohammed Souissi, is quoted as saying that investigations into the death are ongoing and that the security situation is now under control.
A local source told the Libya Herald that the violence took place after a dispute between drug dealers spiralled out of control.
The Ministry of Health described scenes of chaos at the hospital when in the ensuing violence items were set on fire in the ground floor accident and emergency department. Patients in intensive care had to be moved to different buildings or transferred to nearby hospitals when smoke from the fire reached upper floors.
Security was restored at the hospital some hours later when members of the military police arrived to maintain order.
The emergency ward of Tripoli Central Hospital has remained closed today in the aftermath of the attack.