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Libyan parliament lists warring Islamist militants as terrorists

Libya's parliament declared the warring Islamist armed groups in Tripoli and Benghazi as terrorists, local media reported on Sunday.

"They are a legitimate target for the national Libyan army which we fully support," the parliament said in a statement, adding that the Islamist militia coalition Libya Dawn and Ansar al- Sharia were included in the terrorists list.

Libya's House of Representative made the announcement hours after a spokesperson for the outgoing parliament, which was dominated by Islamist, claimed to restore power and called on people to abandon the current newly-elected parliament.

The House of Representative was elected on June 25 when the Islamist lawmakers suffered a major setback and only got 20 out of the 200 parliament's seats. Some analysts said the recent clashes, started by Libya Dawn and its allied Islamist armed groups, were trying to regain momentum on Libya's political stage.

Deadly clashes erupted on July 13 around Tripoli's international airport between Islamist armed groups and pro- secular Zintan militia. Since then, the conflict, which has killed over a hundred people and injured more than 400, has spread to other major cities like Benghazi, Gharyan and Zawiya.

The Islamist fighters lately claimed that they had controlled Tripoli's international airport, one of the key strongholds for pro-secular militia. Meanwhile, in the second largest city of Benghazi, Islamist forces have controlled nearly 80 percent of the area.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya said on Saturday that it was continuing its efforts to mediate between the rival groups. The UN mission's previous efforts were found fruitless since no group has practically ceased the fire.

Libya has witnessed a drastic escalation of violence since the 2011 turmoil, which toppled its former leader Muammar Gaddafi, and its political transitional plan was stuck in the endless fight between Islamist and secular factions.

[Source: Xinhua, Benghazi, 24Aug14]

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