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Hundreds escape prison amid clashes in Tripoli

Tripoli, Monday

Some 400 prisoners have escaped from a facility near the Libyan capital Tripoli amid deadly violence between militia groups in the city, police say.

“The detainees were able to force open the doors and overpowered guards at the Ain Zara prison,” the local police said.

They added that guards, fearing for their lives, were unable to prevent the breakout following riots at the jail.

Clashes between militias in the city have led Libya’s UN-backed government to declare a state of emergency.

The Sunday incident took place during armed violence between rival factions around the facility, which houses only male inmates.

Many of the prisoners held at the Ain Zara prison in south-east Tripoli were reportedly supporters of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and had been found guilty of killings during the uprising against his government in 2011. Numerous armed militias have attempted to wrest control of the city since the ouster of Gaddafi. The recent surge in fighting, which began on August 26.

Separately, two people were killed and several others were injured when rockets hit a camp in Libya’s capital housing hundreds of displaced people, according to emergency services and witnesses.

Libya’s Ministry of Health reports that some 47 people, including civilians, have died in rival militia clashes in Tripoli over the past week, with dozens more injured.                               -BBC

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