July 14, 2014 - 21:41 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The United Nations said on Monday, July 14, it is withdrawing its staff from Libya temporarily because of deteriorating security after rival militias fought over Tripoli International Airport and a renegade general's forces continued to battle Islamist militias in the eastern city of Benghazi, the Associated Press reports.
In a statement posted on its official website, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya said that the mission had already been reducing its staff in the country over the past week. It added that fighting on Sunday and the airport's closure prompted the move to withdraw its staffers.
"This is a temporary measure. Staff will return as soon as security conditions permit. The United Nations, which stood by the Libyan people in their revolution in 2011, will not abandon them as they seek to build a democratic state," the statement said. It added: "The United Nations looks forward to continuing to work with its Libyan partners and hopes to return to Tripoli as soon as possible."
At least six people were killed and 25 injured Sunday in the battle over the airport between rival militias. Civil aviation authorities announced a three-day closure of the airport. Shells hit airplanes, damaged shuttle buses and airport entrances, and landed in the parking lot, an airport security official said.
Among the planes hit was an Airbus from Libya's state-owned Afriqiyah Airways worth 200 million dollars, according to the official Facebook page of its sister airline, Libyan Arab Airlines. It said the crew was transferred to Libya's third largest city of Misrata to operate international flights from there.