Militants have announced the suspension of the Libyan parliament after they assaulted lawmakers. This came last night after crossfire erupted near the parliament building and the roads from and to Tripoli International Airport, leaving two people dead and more than 60 injured.
Colonel Mukhtar Fernana, speaking on behalf of the assailants loyal to a retired general, announced that the country’s constitutional assembly would take over the parliament.
He added that the acting Prime Minister, Abdullah Al-Thinni’s government will serve as care-taker cabinet until new general elections are held.
The militant group loyal to Gen. Khalifa Haftar launched an assault on Libya’s parliament on Sunday afternoon. Some of the militants dashed into the parliament building to expel the lawmakers, forcing a session to adjourn.
Haftar led his self-proclaimed ‘national army’ into Libya’s second largest city of Benghazi at dawn on Friday aimed at purging the city from ‘terrorists,’ leaving at least 79 dead and around 140 wounded, local media reported.
Fernana said that last night’s attack on parliament was not a coup, but “a correct way of following the revolutionary spirit,” adding that the country can’t be a hotbed or an incubator for terrorism.
In response, Libya’s interim government defined Haftar’s action as a “coup,” and Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani early on Monday condemned Fernana’s statement as “expression of political opinion by using armed force.”
The North African country has witnessed a drastic escalation of violence and become a major base of extremists since the downfall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.