UN withdraws staff from Tripoli temporarily after airport battle

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A girl looks out of her house window in the old city of Benghazi, Libya (Iason Athanasiadis / UNSMIL)

Following the closure of Tripoli's International airport after Sunday's fighting, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has temporarily withdrawn its staff from the country.

According to media reports, a battle by rival militia for control of Libya's main airport is said to have left seven people dead and dozens wounded.

The Mission said it could not continue its work in delivering advice and technical support while ensuring the safety and security of its staff.

On Sunday, the Secretary-General issued a statement expressing his "extreme concern" over the dramatic increase in violence in Tripoli and the toll that recent fighting is having on the civilian population.

Mr Ban Ki-moon called on all parties to refrain from violence to achieve political objectives.

Such actions undermined the sacrifices that so many Libyans made during the revolution in order to create a state based on the rule of law, he noted.

The Secretary-General reiterated the urgent need for dialogue among all Libyan actors to agree on a peaceful way forward for the political transition process.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration:  1’07″

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