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Libyan Militia Claims to Have Seized Tripoli Airport

A tank belonging to the Western Shield, a branch of the Libya Shield forces, fires during a clash with rival militias around the former Libyan army camp, Camp 27, in the 27 district, west of Tripoli, Aug. 22, 2014.

An Islamist militia based in Libya's coastal city of Misrata claims to have seized Tripoli airport from a rival Zintan group.

A Misrata spokesman said the airport was taken Saturday after six weeks of battling with the powerful militia from the western mountains.

If the claim is confirmed it would mean a major defeat for the nationalist fighters who have held the airport since the 2011 fall of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Two unidentified air strikes hit the Islamists positions in Libya's capital the previous night, killing at least 10 fighters and wounding many others. The Islamists have accused Egypt and United Arab Emirates of orchestrating the strikes.

Tripoli's airport is in ruins after being battered during weeks of fighting.

The violence in Tripoli and Benghazi has prompted several countries to evacuate their citizens and diplomats from Libya.

Libya's interim government has struggled to establish security since Gadhafi's ouster, which left the country paralyzed by political infighting among armed militias.