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“Unfortunately, the government has failed to rein in all the militias or bring in a proper mechanism for security reform,” said Hanan Salah, a Tripoli-based researcher with Human Rights Watch. “This is why we now have this situation.”

But some Libyans say the violence is par for the course.

“There are remnants of the old regime in every city,” said Aly Abuzaakouk, who heads the Citizenship Forum for Democracy and Human Development in Benghazi. “The question is: Are they dormant or are they planning to disrupt life?”