Zintan Militia in Control of Libya Airport
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Fighters from Libya's Zintan militia, armed with anti-aircraft guns and mortars, fanned out across Tripoli's airport, transformed into a battlefield by two days of fighting that has cut the capital off from the outside world.
Fighting between rival militias has left the control tower damaged and wrecked 11 civilian planes parked on the tarmac. The main terminal building has been turned into a field hospital.
At least 15 people have been killed in the capital and the eastern city of Benghazi since Sunday, Reuters reported.
In Benghazi, irregular forces loyal to renegade former general Khalifa Haftar, a former Gaddafi ally, bombarded rival armed group bases as part of his self-declared campaign to oust militias.
Special forces clashed with militia fighters in the city.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that Washington was working to help end to violence that has brought the north African country to the edge of chaos three years after the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.
The airport battle has prompted the UN to evacuate its staff from the country, where a new government is struggling to impose order over militias who rose up against Gaddafi and never disarmed.
The airport area is under the control of former fighters from the western town of Zintan who have held it since the fall of Tripoli in 2011.
Rival militias, who want to impose Islamic law, have fought with the Zintanis in recent days but failed to dislodge them.
For the past three years, the new authorities have tried to rein in militia fighters by putting them on the government payroll.