- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 23, 2014

Islamist fighters in Libya have captured Tripoli’s major airport, wresting control away from nationalists who have controlled it since the fall of Mommar Gaddafi, international news sites reported Saturday.

The fighting in Libya has descended into what many have called a civil war, between the nationalist military and Islamist militants who wish to enforce sharia law in the nation. The military has accused the militants of trying to turn Libya into an Islamic state, while the militants have in turn said the military is staging a coup.

Islamist fighters from the Libyan Dawn movement claimed they had won complete control of Tripoli’s international airport after several days of clashes, Agence France Presse reported Friday. The militiamen also claimed they had seized a military base, and organized a visit by Libyan journalists to prove they had taken it, the news agency reported.

The previous night, a mysterious aircraft had carried out a raid that killed at least 10 Islamist militants and wounded 20 others, AFP reported. The leader of the nationalists, Khalifa Haftar, claimed responsibility for the raid. But experts question whether he had the capability to conduct an operation, as Libyan aircraft often don’t have the range for such an operation, or the ability to make night flights.

Some have pointed to international involvement, particularly Egypt, which has become increasingly hostile to Islamist militants.  Authorities in Cairo have thus far refused to comment, AFP reported.

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