One dead in clashes between Libya's Tripoli government and Islamic State

Reuters News
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Posted: May 20, 2015 8:27 AM

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Forces loyal to a self-declared Libyan government controlling the capital Tripoli fought Islamic State fighters near the town of Sirte on Wednesday, killing one person and wounding seven, a government official said.

Militants loyal to Islamic State have exploited the turmoil in Libya, where two governments and parliaments are fighting for control four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

Taking advantage of the security vacuum, just as Islamic State did in Syria and Iraq, the militants have seized parts of the coastal city of Sirte, Gaddafi's home town east of Tripoli.

Fighting broke out on Wednesday near the town between Islamic State fighters and forces sent from the western city of Misrata, officials and Misrata residents said.

One member of the Misrata-based Brigade 166 was killed and seven were wounded, Jamal Zubia, a spokesman for the Tripoli-based government, said in a message on social media.

Islamic State militants have in recent months claimed several attacks including the storming of a Tripoli hotel and the murder of dozens of Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians.

Libya's internationally recognized government has been based in the east along with the elected parliament since a rival faction seized the capital in August and reinstated a previous assembly.

Islamic State for its part has also built up a presence in Derna, an eastern city known as jihadi hotspot, and the main eastern city of Benghazi.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Kevin Liffey)