Libyan crisis escalates after air strike at Tripoli airport

Tripoli [Libya]: As heavy fighting by rival forces escalated over the control of Tripoli, the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal General Khalifa Haftar on Monday (local time) launched an air raid at the only functioning airport in the capital city.

Commercial services at the Mitiga International Airport were suspended temporarily after the air attack, forcing hundreds of passengers to be evacuated, Al Jazeera reported.

Authorities said that no casualties were reported following the air strike.

Meanwhile, the United Nations’ envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame strongly condemned the air attack by the LNA, saying he is “deeply concerned” about the situation in the strife-torn North African nation.

“As such, this attack constitutes a serious violation of international humanitarian law which prohibits attacks against civilian infrastructure. I call on the member states to use their influence over the parties to stop further conflict and engage in immediate dialogue to reach a political situation,” Salame said in a statement.
Several years of fighting in the war-torn nation after the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 is showing no signs of stopping as Haftar is aiming to take control of Tripoli.

Haftar, who has set his sight on the capital city, has already gained control over several parts of eastern Libya.
Resulting from years of civil conflict, Libya has no single government currently, with LNA backing the Tobruk-based parliament, which governs eastern Libya. The internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) controls Libya’s western parts from Tripoli.

Last week, the LNA had claimed that it had launched the first air raid on a Tripoli suburb as part of their aim to oust the GNA and take control of Tripoli.

The army aligned to Libya’s UN-backed GNA government has announced a counteroffensive and vowed to reclaim all areas seized by Haftar.

Several countries, including India and the US, have temporarily withdrawn their forces from Libya in the wake of the deteriorating security situation in the North African country.