Battle for power in Libya reaches the capital Tripoli

A military vehicle in Wadi al Rabih south of Tripoli Libya on Friday

A military vehicle in Wadi al Rabih south of Tripoli Libya on Friday

Forces loyal to the Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar continued their advance into the country's capital and largest city Tripoli, the seat of the internationally-recognized and United Nations -backed government, despite calls from the worldwide community urging for dialogue and threating sanctions.

There were no reports of significant fighting on Saturday, a day after an LNA spokesman and residents reported that Haftar's forces had seized Tripoli's former global airport.

The country is governed by rival authorities - the internationally backed government in Tripoli and the government in the east, with which General Hifter is aligned.

According to Reuters, the US provided air support to Libyan forces fighting ISIS in 2016 and continued to launch strikes on suspected militants there after the end of that campaign.

The UN Security Council held an emergency closed-door meeting on Friday at Britain's request and called on Haftar's forces to halt all military movements.

Pro-government militia fighters from the coastal town of Zawiya, west of Tripoli, retook the base in Janzour after a "short exchange of fire", the security source told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.

On Friday the LNA briefly seized the airport before being pushed out.

On Friday Haftar's spokesman said the offensive would only end once Tripoli fell.

Speaking to Al Khaleej Online yesterday, Al-Qunidi said: "The three Arab countries support Haftar's militias in order to create a new Sisi in Libya", referring to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Al-Mesmari said Hifter's forces declared Tripoli a no-fly zone for warplanes.

"I still hope it is possible to avoid a bloody confrontation in and around Tripoli", Guterres tweeted.

A conference between Libya's warring parties set to start on April 14 is to go ahead despite renewed fighting around Tripoli, the United Nations' envoy said Saturday. "There can be no military solution to the conflict", he said.

"With Juan Guaido being stripped of his immunity. we don't want the situation to escalate", German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in Dinard on Saturday.

Libya has struggled to counter unrest since the 2011 overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi, leaving dozens of militia to fill the void and ally with either the GNA or the rival administration in the east backed by Haftar.

Most of the pro-Haftar fighters who briefly captured the checkpoint late on Thursday were militiamen from the rival town of Sabratha further west along the Mediterranean coast.

"We have been sending the same signal to all political forces in Libya".

Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA).said they had been targeted by an air strike, as fresh fighting flared south of Tripoli.

Nevertheless France, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have provided tacit support for Haftar during several years of fighting, according to expert Harchaoui.

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