‘Terrorist’ Islamist militias seize Libya Tripoli airport

A man fires a weapon during fightings between rival militias around Tripoli international airport, on August 17, 2014.

A man fires a weapon during fightings between rival militias around Tripoli international airport, on August 17, 2014.

Islamist militias which announced their seizure of Libya’s Tripoli airport have been branded as “terrorists” by the country’s elected parliament.

A coalition of Islamist militias, mainly from the Libyan city of Misrata, claimed control over Tripoli’s main airport on Saturday after a weeks-long battle.

“The groups acting under the names of Fajr Libya (Libyan Dawn) and Ansar al-Sharia are terrorist groups and outlaws that are rising up against the legitimate powers,” the parliament said in a statement issued on Saturday night.

The parliament said it was determined to deal with the challenge through its armed forces.

The coalition, known as Fajr Libya, said Saturday it had captured Tripoli’s battered international airport from nationalist militiamen.

The announcement came a day after an unidentified warplane raided Islamist positions around the airport, killing 13 fighters, a Fajr Libya spokesman said.

The fall of the airport would be a major defeat for the nationalist fighters from Zintan, southwest of Tripoli, who have held it since the overthrow of long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

Early on Sunday, Islamist militiamen attacked the Tripoli studios of private television station Al-Assima which supports the Zintan nationalists and kidnapped its crew, the station said.

Al-Assima, in a news bulletin, said equipment was destroyed and the crew went missing.

On the political front, the outgoing provisional General National Congress (GNC), which was dominated by Islamists, was to resume operations at the request of Fajr Libya, despite being superseded by parliament, its spokesman said.

The airport 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of the Libyan capital, has been shut since July 13 because of the deadly clashes between the Islamists and the Zintan force.

 
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