Libyan airport reopens following overnight airstrikes

Libyan airport reopens following overnight airstrikes

Libyan airport reopens following overnight airstrikes

Fighting on Tripoli's outskirts has killed at least 220 people and wounded more than 1,000 others, according to the World Health Organization, while the International Organization for Migration said more than 25,000 people have been displaced. "The WHO and its partners are working to make sure that people who have fled their homes can access medical care", the WHO tweeted.

Forces backing Libya's unity government battled to push back an offensive by strongman Khalifa Haftar on Sunday as his troops approached the gates of Tripoli after air raids overnight.

Deteriorating security conditions, fueled by foreign intervention, clashes between two rival governments as well as the presence of jihadi groups, have plagued Libya since the 2011 overthrow, backed by the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, of the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The White House said US President Donald Trump spoke on the phone with Haftar, to discuss "a shared vision for Libya's transition to a stable, democratic political system".

Heavy clashes broke out in the southern districts of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, as forces loyal to the country's UN-recognised government launched a counterattack to repel fighters allied to renegade General Khalifa Haftar.

The call came amid efforts by the United Nations to broker a ceasefire.

The US and Russian Federation declined on Thursday to support a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Libya. Alongside the rivalry between the GNA and the LNA, myriad militias have vied for control of key cities, while jihadist activity has also periodically flared.

The U.S. stance on Libya widens and brings into the open the global split on Libya policy and puts Ghassan Salame and UNSMIL in even more hard position. The warring sides have traded accusations of targeting civilians. Gadhafi fled but was eventually captured and killed In October, 2011. Terrorist groups were also on the rise in Libya, and staged a deadly attack on the USA embassy in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

The airstrikes targeting forces from the internationally recognised government closed the capital's only functioning airport for several hours on Sunday. Jihadist groups including the so-called "Islamic State" have gained a significant foothold in the country, making any progress precarious.

The military commander backs a rival administration based in eastern Libya that refuses to recognise the authority of the Tripoli government.

A one-time officer in former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's army who spent years living in exile in Virginia and later fought against Gadhafi's regime, Haftar, who is aligned with a parliament based in the country's east, has also reportedly received some support in the past from France, Russia, the UAE and Egypt.

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