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Nearly 50 Dead in Renewed Libya Fighting

  • VOA News

Smoke rises near buildings after heavy fighting between rival militias broke out near the airport in Tripoli July 20, 2014.

Smoke rises near buildings after heavy fighting between rival militias broke out near the airport in Tripoli July 20, 2014.

Almost 50 people are now dead in the heavy fighting for control of Tripoli International Airport after a cease-fire two days ago failed to keep the peace on Sunday.

The battle between Islamist-led fighters from Misrata and Zintan rebels for control of the airport has spilled over into the surrounding areas and is said to be the worst fighting in Libya since the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Thousands of people have fled their homes, as the armed groups exchanged fire from guns, anti-aircraft cannons and rockets. Many residents are said to be trapped by the fighting.

The United Nations pulled its staff out of Libya last week because of security concerns.

There have been no international flights at the Tripoli airport since last Monday and some aviation experts believe the airport will be closed for months because of extensive damage inflicted by the fighting.

The militias involved in the airport conflict are loosely aligned with the liberal and Islamist political factions vying for control of Libya's parliament, the National General Congress.

Results of recent parliamentary elections were to be announced Sunday, but were postponed until Monday.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s military said that on Saturday militants attacked a checkpoint on country's border with Libya, killing at least 21 soldiers.

Libya has been in turmoil as the country’s new government has not been able to control militias who helped oust Gadhafi, but now defy state authority.

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