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Libyan militia accuses Egypt, United Arab Emirates of airstrikes

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, 7:18 p.m.
 

Two unidentified airstrikes targeting Islamist militia positions in Libya's capital killed 15 fighters and wounded 30 on Saturday. A senior militia leader accused Egypt and the United Arab Emirates of being behind the attacks on their posts.

The mysterious airstrikes were the second within days to target Islamist militia posts in Tripoli. They have fueled speculation that foreign powers are covertly intervening in Libya's militia violence because its air force does not possess the guided ordnance apparently used in the strikes and the country's army is reeling from weeks of intense fighting driven by polarized politics.

The violence in Libya is rooted in the empowerment of militias after successive transitional governments since the 2011 ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi depended on them to maintain order in the absence of a strong police force or a unified military.

A militia leader said the warplanes targeted the Interior Ministry and several militia positions, setting fire to a warehouse. He said two sons of the head of the military council of Misrata militias, Ibrahim Bin Rajab, were among the wounded.

The source spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

Militia spokesman Mohammed al-Gharyani said more than 30 fighters were wounded in the airstrikes but that the militia had not abandoned its positions, including the Interior Ministry, the army headquarters and the military police headquarters.

Al-Gharyani said militia fighters from other areas and towns were joining the Misrata forces and “our response will be severe.”

Similar airstrikes carried out on Monday also targeted camps and areas occupied by Islamists militias from Misrata and allied groups.

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