Tags: Libya | airport | militants | alliance | Tripoli | militias

Libyan Islamist Alliance Claims It Captured Tripoli's Airport

Image: Libyan Islamist Alliance Claims It Captured Tripoli's Airport
Smoke billows from buildings in Libya during clashes between Libyan security forces and armed Islamist groups in the eastern coastal city of Benghazi Saturday. (Getty Images)

Sunday, 24 Aug 2014 06:39 AM

An alliance of Islamist militias said it wrested control of Tripoli’s international airport from a rival militia in a battle that threatens to plunge Libya deeper into chaos.

The announcement by Fajr Libya, or Libya Dawn, came hours after warplanes struck Islamists near and around the airport, killing at least 13 people and wounding 30 others, the independent Al Nabaa television reported. It was not clear who was behind the airstrike, the second of its kind in about a week. Libya Dawn blamed Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

The statement on the group’s Facebook page said its “lions” charged the airport and “entered its halls and it’s been completely cleansed of all criminals.”

The Islamist group’s spokesman, Mohamed Ghariani, told Al Nabaa that the militia are in control of most locations in Tripoli, including the Interior Ministry near the airport. The claims could not be independently verified and the government had yet to comment.

The more than month-old battle pits the Islamist-dominated grouping, led by fighters from the coastal city of Misrata, against a militia from the Zintan region and its allies.

The Zintan militants, who have been in control of the airport since the 2011 ouster and killing of Muammar Qaddafi, is allied to renegade General Khalifa Haftar, who had been battling Islamists in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The fighting has battered Libya, stymied efforts to revive oil output in the OPEC member and undercut hopes for a transition to democracy. It has sparked concern the nation, led by a largely toothless central government, will descend into anarchy and emerge as little more than a failed state controlled by militias.

Libya’s neighbors -- Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt -- are boosting security along their borders. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry denied it was behind the airstrike, while condemning the reported execution of an Egyptian man. The man was shown in a video posted on YouTube being shot in a stadium in the eastern Islamist stronghold of Derna in a Taliban-style execution after being accused of murder.

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An alliance of Islamist militias said it wrested control of Tripoli’s international airport from a rival militia in a battle that threatens to plunge Libya deeper into chaos.
Libya, airport, militants, alliance, Tripoli, militias
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2014-39-24
Sunday, 24 Aug 2014 06:39 AM
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