Airstrike forces closure of Libya’s only operational airport

Forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed unity government guard Tajura a coastal suburb of the Libyan capital Tripoli

Thousands of civilians have been displaced from the Libyan capital Tripoli, while dozens have been killed due to ongoing clashes and Libyan National Army forces', led by Khalifa Haftar, continued of their attack on the capital despite United Nations calls for de-escalation.

Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesman Ahmed Mismari said at a press conference on Tuesday that terrorists gathered in the city of Sirte meant to attack the so-called Oil Crescent, oil-rich areas on the coast in the eastern part of the country from the city of Tobruk to As Sidr.

Late last week, Haftar announced the launch of an ambitious campaign to capture Tripoli, where the GNA is headquartered.

Renewed civil war in Libya splintered into areas of factional control since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, threatens to disrupt oil and gas supplies, trigger more migration to Europe, and allow Islamist militants to exploit the chaos.

In a statement released today, Ribeiro said that the escalation of violence in and around Tripoli has caused the displacement of more than 2,800 persons fleeing from fighting, has blocked emergency services from reaching casualties and civilians, and damaged electricity lines.

The Libyan National Army carried out air strikes on southern Tripoli, while it seeks to advance towards the centre of the city from the abandoned airport.

But the government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj has armed groups arriving from nearby Misrata to help block the LNA.

Serraj has run Tripoli since 2016 as part of a UN-brokered deal boycotted by Haftar.

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Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra - if you miss us you can listen back here. Huh?! And Power 106, one of the biggest radio stations in Los Angeles , said it would no longer be playing his tracks.

The LNA, allied with a parallel eastern administration based in Benghazi, took the oil-rich south of Libya earlier this year before its surprisingly fast push toward the coastal capital.

The violence has jeopardized a United Nations plan for an April 14-16 conference to plan elections and end anarchy that has prevailed since the Western-backed toppling of Gaddafi.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the latest global appeal for talks to end the fighting.

Forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Haftar, a commander from the east attempting to gain control of the capital, were blamed for the airstrike.

Haftar casts himself as a foe of extremism but is viewed by opponents as a new dictator in the mould of Gaddafi, whose four-decade rule was marked by torture, disappearances and assassinations.

Since then, the country's stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power: one in eastern Libya, with which Haftar is associated, and another in Tripoli, which enjoys United Nations support.

Allied groups from Misrata down the coast have been moving pickup trucks fitted with machine guns into Tripoli.

Some 47 people, including civilians, have been killed over the past three days, says the World Health Organization, as rebel forces seek to take the capital, Tripoli. The media office of Hifter's army said 22 of their troops had been killed since Thursday.

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