UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres yesterday strongly condemned the military escalation near Tripoli, the capital city of Libya, and called for an immediate halt to the fighting in the country.
The appeal by the UN chief followed an air attack by the forces of commander Khalifa Haftar on the Mitiga airport, located at the east of the capital city.
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Guterres strongly condemns ongoing fighting, read UN statement
Guterres "urges the immediate halt of all military operations in order to de-escalate the situation and prevent an all-out conflict," said a UN statement on Monday.
"He strongly condemns the military escalation and ongoing fighting in and around Tripoli, including the aerial attack today by a Libyan National Army (LNA) aircraft against Mitiga airport," the statement further said.
Monday's air strike targeted MiG-23 military plane, helicopter: LNA
The air strike shut down Tripoli's only functioning airport as fighting raged around the capital and thousands fled.
Haftar's self-styled LNA claimed Monday's air strike against the airport, with a spokesman saying the attack targeted a MiG-23 military plane and a helicopter.
Haftar launched the offensive on Tripoli last week just as Guterres was in Libya to push for a political-deal on holding elections.
UN-backed unity government controls the capital of Libya
A UN-backed unity government controls the capital, but its authority isn't recognized by a parallel administration in the east of the country. As fighting escalated over the weekend, the UN even called for a humanitarian pause to allow civilians trapped in the violence to escape.
The crisis started when the government of Gaddafi was overthrown
However, the UN appeal fell on deaf ears.
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, also said that the US is 'deeply concerned' over the fighting near Tripoli and that they strongly oppose the military offensive by Haftar's forces.
Libya has been rocked by violent power struggles between an array of armed groups since the NATO-backed overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.