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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Libya's New Parliament Meets Amid Ongoing Violence

by VOA News August 02, 2014

Libya's newly-elected parliament held its first meeting Saturday in the eastern city of Tobruk, as fighting between armed factions continued in Benghazi and the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

More than 150 members of parliament gathered for the meeting, which was headed by interim speaker Abu Bakr Baiera.

Baiera said parliament's official opening session is being postponed until Monday, as the difficult security situation prevented some lawmakers from attending Saturday's gathering.

But reports indicate the lawmakers who did not show include Islamists — a possible sign of continuing political divisions.

In the latest violence, fresh flames erupted at a fuel depot near the airport in Tripoli, sending dark smoke billowing into the air after a rocket hit a tank. This is the second time this week the depot has been hit. Another rocket ignited a huge blaze there on July 27. Officials say firefighters left the blaze Saturday to escape the fighting.

A battle for control of the airport has raged since July 13. Dozens of people have been killed.

The surge in violence in Libya has renewed fears that the country is plunging deeper into civil strife. Chaos has engulfed Libya since the 2011 civil war that ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

In neighboring Egypt, President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi raised concerns about Libya's deteriorating security situation and called on the international community to help restore order.

He told a news conference Saturday that as violence intensifies, the international community and especially Europe have moral, humanitarian and security responsibilities to act. He added that there should be an international strategy to confront the spread of terrorism in the region.

Sissi noted that Egypt is facing a growing threat from its border with Libya, due to the "absence of security forces on the Libyan side."

Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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