Libyan Militias Fight Gun-Battles in Tripoli

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And in Libya, a deadly gunbattle between Misrata and Tripoli militias erupts in one of the capital's busiest streets. The clash casts new doubt over the new government's ability to maintain control in the post-Gaddafi era.

Two fighters were killed when Libyan militias fought a gun battle across one of Tripoli's busiest streets on Tuesday, in a fresh sign that the new government is struggling to assert control in the post-Gaddafi era.

Tripoli-based former rebels controlling a security compound in the capital fought an hour-long gun battle with at least 24 fighters from Misrata who had come to free a group of prisoners, according to medics and former rebels.

Distraught friends and relatives wept over the body of one Misrata fighter.

[Relative of Dead Fighter]:
"This happened after the revolution but not before. They said there will be a government and order. 23 fighters came to claim territory and to kill young boys. They killed young boys for territory."

More than two months after Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed, real power still resides with the militias that ousted him.

These have carved up the country and capital into competing fiefdoms, each holding out for the share of power they say they are owed.

The Chairman of the Military Council of Tripoli, Abdulhakim Belhadj, whose militiamen took part in the clashes, says that a local dispute triggered the gun-battle and that those responsible had been "arrested and will face justice."

Tripoli's city council had set a deadline of December 20 for militias to return to their homes.

The Tripoli militia said they had seized vehicles from the Misrata fighters.

The Misrata rebels in particular hold a vast arsenal of tanks, rockets and guns that are testing the ability of the government to assert its authority.

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