AP NEWS

Freelance journalist killed amid new round of Libya clashes

January 19, 2019

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — A freelance journalist who contributed to The Associated Press and other news organizations was killed Saturday in the Libyan capital, a colleague said.

Mohamed Ben Khalifa, who was in his 30s, was hit by shrapnel while accompanying a militia patrolling the Qaser Bin Ghashir area south of Tripoli, said Hamza Turkia, also a freelance journalist.

The militia came under attack by another armed group, said Turkia. He said there was gunfire, and that a missile was also fired.

Ben Khalifa, a photographer and video journalist, is survived by his wife and a 7-month-old daughter, another colleague said.

A new round of fighting between rival militias erupted earlier this week, killing 13 people and wounding more than 50, according to the Libyan Health Ministry.

The clashes shattered a U.N.-brokered cease-fire reached in September. A bout of violence last year killed nearly 100 people.

The fighting between militias allied with Libya’s U.N.-backed government in Tripoli and an armed group from a nearby town underscores Libya’s lingering lawlessness since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The energy-rich North African nation is governed by rival authorities in Tripoli and the country’s east, each of which is backed by an array of militias.

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This story corrects attribution in the 4th paragraph.