United Nations says 220 killed in fighting over Libya's capital

Libya shelling kills at least six civilians as rival militias battle for control of Tripoli

Reuters was unable to confirm whether an aircraft or unmanned drone was behind the strike which triggered heavy anti aircraft fire.

The latest attacks were aimed at military positions in the capital's southern Al-Sabaa district, said Mohamed Younes, a spokesman for the Tripoli-based government.

The fighting resulted in the temporary closure of Tripoli's Mitiga airport, the city's only functioning airport after the main airport was destroyed in 2014.

"US apparent support for Haftar fails to recognise that his offensive against Tripoli is not counterterrorism but a power grab", Mr Millett, who retired past year, tweeted.

Libyan fighters loyal to the Government of National Accord drive a jeep mounted with a heavy weapon during clashes with strongman Khalifa Haftar's forces south of Tripoli on Saturday.

The attackers had late on Saturday flown air strikes on southern areas of Tripoli, with residents blaming drones after listening for nearly an hour the typical summing of an unmanned aircraft.

Haftar's offensive on Tripoli comes after his forces expanded their foothold in south-western Libya in recent months.

The UAE created a drone facility at al-Khadim airbase, south of the Libyan capital, in 2016, and experts say the ageing fighter jets available to Haftar can not fly by night, making it highly likely that drones were used.

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The shelling was louder and more frequent on Saturday than in previous days, residents said, and audible in central districts more than 10km away from the front line.

Libya is split between rival governments in the east and west. President Donald Trump phoned Hifter earlier this week, expressing U.S. support for the leader's perceived stance against terrorism.

The White House statement said Trump recognised Haftar's "significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources", during the conversation on Monday.

Both sides claimed progress in southern Tripoli, but no more details were immediately available. A Reuters TV cameraman visiting the southern Khalat Furgan suburb heard heavy shelling but saw no apparent change in the frontline. Shelling continued in the southern outskirts of the capital on Sunday.

It said children, women and workers in the medical sector were among the victims.

A self-styled Libyan army slowed down its push on the country's capital over concerns for civilians caught up in the violence as the United Nations refugee agency said Monday that the fighting for Tripoli has displaced more than 32,000 people.

The White House did not say why it delayed giving news of the phone call.

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