Updated at 7:00 PM: Death toll of clashes rises to 20 with 63 other people wounded, the Ministry of Health reports 

Heavy clashes broke out around Mitiga Airport on Monday between the Special Deterrence Force, based at the airport, and Brigade 33 from Tajoura.

The reason behind the clashes is yet to be known, but some sources indicated that tensions are rising between both groups over the detention of some people by the Special Deterrence Force.

Both sides exchanged heavy fire since the early morning. Schools in the fighting zone were closed and government employees were told to evacuate.

Black smoke billowed from Mitiga Airport as they continued the fighting.

Flights were suspended and arrivals were diverted to Misrata Airport.

The Ministry of Health reported that nine people have been killed so far in clashes.

It’s the second encounter between the two groups within a month. On December 13, they engaged in a heavy exchange of fire in Al-Shat Road, but the fight was soon put on hold after mediation.