TRIPOLI – Heavy battles continue to rage in Tripoli as rival factions duel for control of the Libyan capital. The assault on the UN-backed government is led by a Misrata commander whose success in the anti-Gadaffi rebellion was secured by the 2011 NATO intervention.

Clashes persisted in Tripoli Saturday between militias loyal to the self-proclaimed National Salvation Government (GNC) and forces loyal to the internationally-recognized Presidential Council (PC) which presides over the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

Fierce fighting erupted on Friday after the GNC’s militia’s top commander, Salah Badi, launched an attack on the GNA-allied Central Security militia in an attempt to recapture parts of the capital, the Libya Herald reported.

The gunfire and artillery explosions then continued in the districts of Abu Salim, Salahedeen, and Qasr Bin Ghashthen through Saturday.

Forces supporting the UN-backed government announced they lost 52 of their fighters by Saturday morning the Libya Herald reported, adding, that “dozens” had been injured.