Libya's Ministry of Health reports that at least seven people have been killed and 36 people wounded in heavy attacks by dueling militias near the airport in Tripoli. The fighting is being described as the deadliest the region has seen since the Libyan revolution in 2011.
The attacks on the airport was led by a coalition of Islamist and Misrata militias—called the Libya Safety and Stability force—against the militia hailing from Zintan that has aligned itself with general Khalifa Haftar. Both groups, the Guardian reports, previously worked together in the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi and are "nominally under government control and on the state payroll:"
Buildings and fuel tanks were set ablaze by artillery, rocket and anti-aircraft fire in the worst fighting seen in the Libyan capital since the 2011 revolution. Thick plumes of smoke rose into the sky and staff and passengers huddled for safety inside airport buildings as battles left at least six dead and 25 wounded.
TV footage showed vehicles on fire after rockets struck the car park. Smoke swirled around planes abandoned on the tarmac. All flights to and from the airport have been cancelled.
According to Reuters, Libyans are growing concerned about these ostensibly state-controlled militias, who are "seizing oilfields and ministries as they press their own financial and political demands on authorities."
With these attacks in Tripoli and previous battles in Benghazi, flights at both of Libya's major airports have now stopped.
[Image via AP]