At least seven people were killed and more than 30 wounded in Libya on Sunday as rival militias battled for control of the airport in Tripoli, according to wire service reports.
In what is being called the worst fighting in the region in six months, the militia clashes have closed the airport to all flights. Explosions and gunfire were heard near the airport from the early morning, quieting in the afternoon, according to Reuters.
The attack erupted as the country awaited results of the June 25 parliamentary elections.
Zintan forces, a militia from the north that has had control of the airport since Moammar Gadhafi’s 2011 ouster, came under attack Sunday morning, residents told Reuters.
Television footage of the attack suggested that the attackers may have been Misratis, rebels from the western city of Misrata, who supporters say are attempting to “free” the airport from Zintan forces and give control back to the government, the wire service reported. News channel al-Nabaa aired footage of men in military vehicles bearing Misrata insignia firing heavy weapons.
However, the government did not support these claims and condemned the attack, saying, “The operation is led by civil leaders belonging to brigades and troops … moving without orders and legal cover,” the government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said in a statement, according to Reuters.
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