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article imageOp-Ed: Flights cancelled as rival militias fight for Tripoli airport

By Ken Hanly     Jul 13, 2014 in World
Tripoli - Rival militias are battling with anti-aircraft guns and rocket-propelled grenades near the airport at Tripoli the Libyan capital.
The Zintan militia controls the international airport at Tripoli. The sounds of the battle could be heard 25 km (15 miles) away in the city. Officials said that flights had been cancelled. British Airlines and Turkish Airways are both reported to have cancelled flights. Rockets struck inside the perimeter of the airport after 6AM. An official said: "Clashes followed between the Zintan militia who control the airport and rivals who want to drive them out," Social media reports claim a number of rockets hit the car park in front of the main terminal.
A Guardian report suggests that the Zintan group are the main supporter of the liberals in the Libyan GNC or parliament. Apparently, mention of CIA-linked General Hifter and his Operation Dignity is no longer relevant in discussing what is happening. Members of the same Zintan brigade were involved in a recent attack, burning, and kidnapping of officials and legislators of the GNC at the behest of General Hifter whom they appear to support: "Citing witnesses, the BBC reported that members of the powerful Zintan militia appeared to be taking part in the assault, " It might seem a bit odd that a militia group that attacked parliament should be protecting the airport. But this is Libya.
The attack was claimed by the Operations Cell of Libyan Revolutionaries, an umbrella group of Islamist militias. Officials report at least six people have been killed so far in the clashes. As well there were 25 wounded. The Guardian speaks of rival cabinets jostling for power. I have no idea where that information comes from. The rival Islamist-supported prime minister Maiteg agreed to accept the decision of the constitutional courts that his rival al-Thinni was still prime minister: Maiteg also said he would "be the first to submit to the court decision and respect the judiciary.""What happened today is that we have made important gains toward building a state of law and institutions that we all are seeking," he told journalists.
Earlier, it is true, there had been competing cabinets. What seems to be happening is that there are clashes between Hifter-allied militias and Islamist militias. This seems to be confirmed by another report from RT about renewed clashes in Benghazi:
Deadly clashes also erupted in Libya’s second largest city of Benghazi on Sunday morning, when a rogue general unleashed a renewed assault on Islamist militants. The Libyan government says that General Khalifa Haftar does not have the authority to mount an attack, but several army units have already joined his cause.
However, the many different militias may also be simply jockeying for power and turf and Hifter allies are just part of the mix. An earlier documentary on Hifter is appended from back in June.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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