Libya calls for UN support amid clashes with militias

An Islamist Libyan militia on Sunday said it had captured the main airport in the capital Tripoli from a rival militia.

“The forces of Libya’s Dawn have been able to enter the airport after taking control of the strategic Naqlia base,” Alaa al-Heweik, a spokesperson for the militia, told independent Libyan broadcaster al-Nabaa. His claims could not be independently verified.

“Clashes are still going on at several other sites,” he added without elaborating.

The self-styled Libya’s Dawn militia is part of the Islamist-allied Misrata fighters’ movement, who have been trying since mid-July to seize the Tripoli International airport from the Zintan militia that is close to the country’s centrist political groups.

The newly-elected parliament has declared the Libya’s Dawn militia and its allied Ansar al-Sharia to be “terrorist and outlawed” groups.
“They are a legitimate target for the national Libyan army that we strongly support,” the parliament said in a statement.

The parliament also sacked chief of the army staff, Major General Abdel-Salam Gadallah, for failing to stop the Islamist militias’ advances in Tripoli.

Lawmakers, meeting late on Saturday in the eastern city of Tobruk, voted to appoint Colonel Abdel-Razeq al-Nazuri to the chief of army staff post.

Parliament Speaker Akila Saleh meanwhile renewed a call for the United Nations to intervene in Libya, which in recent months has seen its worst violence since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in an armed revolt in 2011.