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Published: Monday August 4, 2014 MYT 2:15:02 PM
Updated: Monday August 4, 2014 MYT 2:16:27 PM

British warship brings 110 citizens to Malta from Libya

VALLETTA August 4 (Reuters) - The British survey ship HMS Enterprise has arrived in Malta carrying 110 Britons evacuated from Libya, where fighting between rival armed factions has spread in the capital.

The British ambassador to Libya, Michael Aron, said in a message on social media website Twitter the group included 30 children, 12 infants, four pregnant women and one elderly and sick person.

They had been evacuated as the situation in the North African country continued to worsen, Aron added.

Fighting in Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi is the worst since the 2011 civil war that ended four decades of Muammar Gaddafi's rule, increasing international worries Libya is becoming a failed state.

Three years after the war, Libya's fragile government and nascent army are unable to control heavily armed brigades of ex-rebels who refuse to disband and have allied themselves with competing political factions to become powerbrokers.

Rival factions allied to brigades from the towns of Misrata and Zintan have been fighting for nearly three weeks over control of the capital's airport, with more than 20 people killed on Sunday, and a fire raging at the city's fuel depot.

Last week, the Foreign Office said the British embassy in Tripoli was moving to Tunisia.

Britain was one of the last Western countries with an embassy open in Tripoli after the weeks of street fighting forced the United States, the United Nations and European diplomatic staff to leave.

The Enterprise is the second ship to evacuate workers and families from Libya to Malta. A catamaran chartered in Malta on Saturday evacuated some 250 Hyundai workers from Tripoli. Most were Filipino and Indian.

About 300 workers have also arrived in Malta on chartered flights. Also on board the Enterprise was a small number of Irish and German people.

(Reporting by Christopher Scicluna; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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