Forces of a breakaway general attacked Libya’s Parliament and suspended its activities on Sunday.
The suspension was announced in a statement read by a commander in Libya’s military police read a statement on behalf of a group led by General Khalifa Hifter.
Hifter has said his group is confronting hardline factions in Libya, since the Government is not challenging them.
Military Police General Mokhtar Farnana, speaking on Libyan TV, said Hifter’s group was designating a 60-member Constituents Assembly to take over for Parliament. The current government will act as emergency Cabinet.
Farnana said the attack on Parliament was not a coup but “fighting by the people’s choice”: “We announce to the world that the country can’t be a breeding ground or an incubator for terrorism.”
This morning the interim Government responded in a statement by Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani, “The government condemns the expression of political opinion through the use of armed force. It calls for an immediate end of the use (of) the military arsenal…and calls on all sides to resort to dialogue and reconciliation.”
Armed men attacked the Parliament with truck-mounted anti-aircraft guns, mortars, and rocket fire. MPs were evacuated from the building in southern Tripoli.
The attack reportedly killed two people and wounded more than 50.
Early this morning, attackers fired rockets at Benina airport in Libya’s second-largest city of Benghazi.
The assault comes 2 1/2 years after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi. Since then, the national government has struggled to establish its authority over local and regional militias. It has also been beset by strikes crippling Libya’s oil industry.