Renewed violence in Libya's Tripoli
Rebel groups who were involved in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi have refused to lay down their arms and continue to harass civilians and government officials. (AFP/File)
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Heavy fighting has erupted near an airport in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, officials say, as the militants who control it are attacked.
“Rockets struck inside the airport perimeter around 6 am (0400 GMT),” an airport official said on Sunday, noting that the fighting has halted flights.
“Clashes followed between the Zintan militia, who control the airport, and rivals, who want to drive them out,” the official added.
Tripoli’s international airport has been controlled by militants from the Libyan town of Zintan since the overthrow of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Explosions could reportedly be heard in Tripoli, which is 25 kilometers away. Several rockets hit the parking area in front of the main terminal.
The incident came after the US said that the Libya conflict could become “widespread” after the North African country’s electoral commission confirmed that fraud had clouded the June 25 parliamentary election.
“The United States is deeply concerned by the ongoing violence in Libya and dangerous posturing that could lead to widespread conflict there,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
The UN Support Mission in Libya transferred dozens of its staff to Italy due to the security conditions in the country.
Since the 2011 revolution, Libya has been the scene of numerous attacks and political assassinations amid a power struggle among several militia groups that fought against Gaddafi during the uprising. The former rebels refuse to lay down their arms despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.