Arab Media Report Cease-fire in Libyan Capital

CAIRO, Arab media reported Saturday that warring militias in the Libyan capital had agreed to a cease-fire, but it was unclear whether it would hold for long.

Clashes were reported overnight in Tripoli, and its only functioning airport was closed after rockets hit the area Friday.

Militia fighters from several warring brigades fired multiple rounds of ammunition into the air around the Yarmouk military camp, scene of bitter fighting in recent days. Control of the camp changed hands several times during the week, and fighters from the so-called Seventh Brigade, based in Tarhouna, held it at last report.

Ahmed Maitiq, deputy head of Libya’s Presidential Council, part of the country’s national unity government, said brigades loyal to the unity government had been sent to recapture the base and end the fighting.

National unity government Prime Minister Fayez el-Seraj, under criticism from leaders on all sides, urged opposing parties around the country to agree to unite their forces and end the chaos engulfing Libya.

He called on the parliament and the council of state to work together to unite the institutions of state, especially the army and the central bank, and issue the necessary decrees in order to hold elections.

Amateur photographs posted on Twitter showed buildings, including a hospital and a hotel, that had been hit by rocket fire during the past 24 hours. Arab media said about 40 people had been killed in a week of fighting. Many residents complained that they had been pinned down by the fighting and that electricity was in short supply. One resident said that on some days, just three to four hours of electric power was available.

Refugees have been hit hard by the fighting, although amateur photos on Twitter suggested that food got through to at least one group that had been isolated by fighting. Abdel Salam al-Milad, who is in charge of the U.N.-run Az Zara refugee facility, said several hundred people had been moved to a safer location in Tripoli, where they were given medical and food aid. He said most of the refugees were from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan.

The United States and four European governments urged the warring militias to observe the latest cease-fire.

Source: Voice of America