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Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Libya Crisis: Misrata Militia Seize Tripoli Airport From Nationalist Fighters

Libya Crisis

(Photo : REUTERS/Stringer ) A building on fire, which witnesses say was hit by a rocket, burns after clashes between rival militias in the Sarraj district in Tripoli August 23, 2014.

Libyan Misrata forces claimed to seize Tripoli international airport from Zintan militia after a month-long battle with the nationalist fighters, Misrata spokesman announced on Saturday.

Fajr Libya, also known as Operation Dawn, declared that it totally controls Tripoli international airport. The Islamist-affiliated forces from Misrata entered the airport and carried out pockets of resistance, Reuters reported.

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Residents near the airport have heard heavy shelling and explosions in the capital and other parts of the city as the battle between the rival armed groups continues, some reports said.

The airport's capture considered as a major defeat for the Zintan fighters, who controlled the airport since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, and a huge development in the battle to control Libya's capital, some sources confirmed.

Libya's new parliament, the House of Representatives, told the media that the groups who now control the airport were terrorist organizations.

According to some reports the conflict between rival militias, who used to be comrades-in-arms, described as the worst violence since Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011.

According to some sources, renegade General Khalifa Haftar, who is loosely allied to Zintani militias, targeted the Misratan fighters’ position in Tripoli by airstrikes which leave 10 people killed and dozens injured.

The ex-army chief Haftar launched a campaign called Operation Dignity against Islamists-dominated government in the eastern part of Benghazi city. Haftar's air defence commander Sager al-Jouroushi claimed responsibility for the attack to Misrata forces, some reports confirmed.

According to a spokesman for the Misratans the strikes were Egypt and the United Arab Emirates’ aggression. However, western countries and Egypt denied any involvement.

Some reports said because of the intense conflict in Libya thousands have fled their homes to escape the violence. The United Nations and foreign embassies urgently evacuated their staff and citizens for their safety.

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