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Surge in Libya violence raises spectre of civil war

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 01:33

Tripoli: Libya`s government said on Tuesday that it was considering calling for international forces to help restore security, as fighting between rival militias around Tripoli airport pushed the country closer to civil war.

With liberal and Islamist militias locked in a brutal power struggle, the country`s main international airport, which was shut down on Sunday for security reasons, had came under renewed attack yesterday.

Shortly afterwards the government said it was "looking into the possibility of making an appeal for international forces on the ground to re-establish security and help the government impose its authority".
The statement from a spokesman added that the forces would help protect civilians, prevent anarchy and allow the government to build up the army and police.

NATO warplanes helped topple dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, sparking a power struggle between rival armed groups that has wracked the country ever since.

Speaking in Vienna, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington was "deeply concerned" about the growing levels of unrest in the North African nation, and was "working very hard to find political cohesion".
"Every single day in the State Department we make assessments about the level of violence, about our personnel who are there, about our embassy."

Angry Libyans today blocked several roads around Tripoli and burned tyres, in response to calls for civil disobedience in protest at the airport attacks, witnesses said. Some banks and shops also remained closed.

Analysts say the latest clashes are tied to the preliminary results of a June 25 general election to replace the Islamist-dominated parliament, which has been mired in controversy and accused of hogging power. 

AFP
First Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 01:33
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