Libyan security officials say a local dispute in a city east of the capital, Tripoli, has resulted in the partial destruction of a prison and the escape of at least 250 inmates.

Monday's prison break in Tajura highlights the chaos that has engulfed Libya since the 2011 toppling and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Speaking anonymously in line with regulations, the officials said the dispute began when officers killed a man trying to steal a car near the facility. In retaliation, the deceased's family stormed the prison and burned nearby state buildings, killing 13 including Tajura's de-facto head of security and his deputy. Another seven were wounded in the mayhem.

They say they managed to transfer 127 prisoners in the early stages of the fight.