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Dozens Killed As Libyan Militias Battle For Tripoli's Airport

Posted: July 21, 2014

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The fighting in the North African country is some of the worst since the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

A damaged building and debris outside are seen Sunday after heavy fighting broke out between rival militias near the airport in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

A damaged building and debris outside are seen Sunday after heavy fighting broke out between rival militias near the airport in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Hani Amara

At least 47 people have been killed in fighting over the past 24 hours between rival Libyan militias battling for control of Tripoli's international airport.

The country's health ministry said late Sunday that the fighting also wounded 120 people. The Associated Press reports:

"The weeklong battle over the airport is being waged by a powerful militia from the western city of Zintan, which controls the facility, and Islamist-led militias, including fighters from Misrata, east of Tripoli. The clashes resumed Sunday after cease-fire efforts failed.

"Television footage broadcast Sunday showed a mortar shell striking a Libyan Arab Airlines plane and a column of black smoke billowing from inside the airport, which has been closed since last Monday."

The fighting in the North African country is some of the worst since the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

As we told you last week, Libya's foreign minister asked the U.N. Security Council for help to protect the country's airports, oil installations and ports "before it is too late."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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