News / Middle East

    Libya Denounces Deadly Clashes Near Airport

    Libyan government's spokesman Ahmad Lamin holds a press conference in the capital as deadly clashes rage around the country's main international airport, in Tripoli, Libya, July 13, 2014.
    Libyan government's spokesman Ahmad Lamin holds a press conference in the capital as deadly clashes rage around the country's main international airport, in Tripoli, Libya, July 13, 2014.
    VOA News

    The Libyan government condemned the heavy fighting between rival militias that broke out early Sunday around Tripoli's airport that killed at least six and injured 25.

    Explosions and anti-aircraft gunfire were heard on the airport road from the early morning until the late afternoon.

    Residents said that militiamen from the northwestern region of Zintan who had controlled the airport came under fire, and local TV footage suggested that the attacking rebels were from the western city of Misrata.

    In this image made from video by The Associated Press, smoke rises from the direction of Tripoli airport in Tripoli, Libya, July 13, 2014.In this image made from video by The Associated Press, smoke rises from the direction of Tripoli airport in Tripoli, Libya, July 13, 2014.
    x
    In this image made from video by The Associated Press, smoke rises from the direction of Tripoli airport in Tripoli, Libya, July 13, 2014.
    In this image made from video by The Associated Press, smoke rises from the direction of Tripoli airport in Tripoli, Libya, July 13, 2014.

    A spokesman for Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni read a statement denouncing the attacks.

    “These forces are exercising without any orders, or legitimate cover (from the government), and from multiple locations, are bombarding and conducting military operations that threaten everyone,” Ahmed Lamin said at a news conference.

    Airport closed for days

    Civil aviation authorities announced the airport will be closed for at least three days because of security concerns.

    "The government is demanding that the attackers unconditionally and immediately stop military action," Lamin said. "We hold the leaders of these groups fully responsible legally for the use of weapons, shedding the blood of the people, especially in the holy month of Ramadan."

    The fighting is part of growing turmoil in the North African oil producer, where the government is unable to control battle-hardened militias that helped to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, but continue to defy state authority.

    The Operations Cell of Libyan Revolutionaries, a coalition of Islamist militias, claimed responsibility.

    The opposing groups are seen as the armed wings of two political factions, the liberals and Islamists, struggling for the upper hand in the Libyan parliament.

    The statement said the government was seeking to contain the fighting.

    “The government has given orders to both the ministry of interior and the army to secure the capital's streets and neighborhoods, as well as vital locations and installations. The government has also declared a state-of-emergency within all hospitals and healthcare facilities,” Lamin said.

    The assault on the Zintan militia came after the United Nations pulled staff from Libya, citing security reasons, and as Washington warned of further escalation.

    An airport official said rockets struck the airport perimeter around 6 a.m. (0400 GMT), followed by heavy clashes between the gunmen.

    The clashes later scaled down to intermittent exchanges of automatic weapons fire, said a correspondent for the French news agency AFP.

    Nabaa TV showed a Libyan Airlines plane and a transport aircraft engulfed in smoke while vehicles fired anti-aircraft volleys and fighters took up positions next to a field of sheep.

    Libyan official can't travel

    The closure prevented Libya's foreign minister, Mohamed Abdelaziz, from travelling to a two-day meeting near Tunis opening Sunday of his counterparts in North Africa to consider how to aid chaos-riddled Libya.

    A foreign ministry source said Libya would be represented by its ambassador to Tunisia, Mohamed al-Maalul, at the closed-door meetings in Hammamet, a town south of Tunisia's capital.

    Sunday's fighting was the worst in the capital since more than 40 people were killed in clashes between militias and armed residents in November.

    The violence comes as the country awaits the results of the June 25 parliamentary elections.

    Officials and Libya's partners had hoped the vote would give a push to state building and ease political tensions.

    On Saturday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement the U.S. is "deeply concerned" the ongoing violence in Libya could lead to "widespread conflict."   

    Psaki stressed the importance of Libya's Constitutional Drafting Assembling in "building the country for which Libyans sacrificed so much during the revolution."

    The new constitution has been billed as a milestone in the North African country's transition from Gadhafi dictatorship. 

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 13, 2014 10:47 AM
    US President Barack Obama "quote" said it; .. "We've protected thousands of people in Libya; We have not seen a single US casualty; There's (no risk) of additional escalation.. This operation is limited in time and in scope".... PS; Obama wasn't thinking about what his ignorant actions in Libya would cause, in the violence, killings, destruction and wars, his foolish actions caused (with all those Qaddafi weapons), in the Islamic world.....

    NOW will somebody please tell this President who must live under a rock, "that thousands of innocent men, women and children, have been killed in Libya since the US and NATO countries attacked Libya to kill Qaddafi... and hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children have been killed by the (Qaddafi weapons from Libya), that the US supplied to other Muslims in Jordan and Turkey, to fight the Syrian government, and now Iraq."

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora