Renegade General in Libya Suspends Country’s Parliament

Militiamen who are loyal to a retired general in Libya said that parliament has been suspended after they launched an attack on the legislative body.

Forces under the command of Khalifa Haftar a former Libyan general stormed the parliament building on Sunday in the capital of Tripoli, ransacking the offices of lawmakers, while firing automatic weapons.

Dark smoke billowing from the parliament building could be seen in the Tripoli skyline. Reports that were still unconfirmed said two people had been killed while another 50 were thought to be wounded due to the violence.

On Monday, the interim government of Libya condemned the Sunday attack. It is unclear if the former general has the forces that can maintain control of the capital.

Authorities said the building had been attacked by militia who were attempting to arrest lawmakers who were Islamist. However, lawmakers had been evacuated from the parliament building prior to the attack.

Security officials said the militia gunmen blocked off the road that leads up to the General National Congress, while shelling a military base nearby that is controlled by Islamist militia.

The renegade general’s loyal forces also were in control of a number of zones across the southern area of Tripoli near the airport.

Violence across Tripoli has come following deadly fighting in Benghazi, an eastern city, on Friday between the Islamist militiamen and the renegade general’s National Army.

Parliament in Libya is split between non-Islamist forces and Islamist forces who have been arguing over the appointing of the new government and the holding of new elections.

Of recent, the Islamists backed naming a new prime minister for the country, despite the groups that were non-Islamist walking out.

On Monday afternoon, the army chief in Libya ordered that militias that are Islamist led be deployed in the capital. The development on Monday creates a possible showdown amongst the militias and the troops that are anti-Islamist allied with the renegade general.

The order by the area chief was for Libya’s Central Shield, which is an umbrella group that consists of powerful militias.

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