By Hadi Fornaji.
Tunis, 9 July 2017:
A number of local residents are reported to have been killed and injured as a result of indiscriminate rocket fire during fighting today in Garabulli, east of Tripoli, between mainly Misratan forces supporting Khalifa Ghwell’s “national salvation government” (NSG) and Tripoli forces backing the Presidency Council.
The pro-NSG forces moved from Misrata three days ago but stopped at Garabulli after Presidency Council head Faiez Serraj announced that he was calling of “friendly countries” to take action against them. It is reported that the Misratan forces feared that this might result in American bombing raids.
Various Tripoli militias were then dispatched to Garabulli to force out the pro-NSG forces. These Tripoli forces include the Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigade led by Haithem Tajouri, the Tajoura Security Battalion, Ghneiwa’s Abu Sleem Central Security Force, the 8th Brigade, the 42nd Battalion and volunteers from a number of Tripoli districts.
By late today though, it appeared that the pro-NSG fighters had managed to repel the Tripoli forces and remained fully in control of Garabulli.
The municipal council there had already warned local residents to remain indoors.
This evening there were reports of pro-PC forces based in Tajoura reinforcing sand barriers on the coast road to prevent the pro-NSG forces advancing. Ironically, those doing so are said to be members of the Rahabat al Droua militia which normally supports controversial grand mufti Sadek Al-Gharaiani. He supports Ghwell.
The militia, though, while it has held back from any involvement in the fighting, says that it is securing the coast road to prevent any intruders entering the capital.
One of the consequences of the clashes today was further power outages in Tripoli. According to state electricity company GECOL this was because of transmission lines in Garabulli being hit in the fighting. Meanwhile, hospitals in Tripoli are reported warning they they expect wounded from the fighting.
In Tripoli itself this evening, though, most people were far more interested in the match between local team Al-Ahly and Egypt’s Zamalek in the CAF Champions League. People took to the streets to celebrate after the match which, although it ended in a 2-2 draw, secured Al-Alhy’s place in the quarterfinals.