Libya Tripoli airport seized by Islamist militias
A fighter from Zintan brigade watches as smoke rises after rockets fired by one of Libya's militias struck and ignited a fuel tank in TripoliReuters file photo

An Islamist militia has claimed control of Tripoli's main airport after month-long clashes with a rival faction raising further tensions in embattled Libya.

The newly-installed government, which the Islamists consider illegal, has condemned the airport seizure by the armed militants, who are from the Libyan city of Misrata.

Local channels also reported that the airport has fallen into the hands of the Misrata extremists, amidst the ongoing fighting in other parts of Tripoli and Benghazi.

The militias which were part of the Nato-backed campaign that led to the downfall of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi have been engaged in a bitter battle for power.

Meanwhile, unidentified fighter jets have bombed key facilities of the militia alliance, known as Libya Dawn, killing at least 12 people, according to the state-run news agency Lana.

The militia has alleged that the warplanes were from Egypt and the UAE, but Libyan authorities have pleaded ignorance.

Air traffic remains disrupted from and to Tripoli airport since the fighting broke out last month. Most international airlines have suspended their services.

The airport, often a flashpoint of the conflict, had been controlled for nearly three years by moderate militias, hailing from the western city of Zintan, who took over shortly after the ouster of Gaddafi.

If the latest seizure is confirmed, analysts say it will be a huge setback for moderate forces, further increasing the threat of Islamist radicalism in the Middle East.