Qatar hits back at claims of role in Libya unrest

Pro-Islamist protesters gather in the Libyan capital Tripoli. (AFP)

Qatar has hit back against accusations by Libya that it supplied weapons to rebels in the violence-plagued North African nation.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Rumaihi rejected what he described as “misleading and unfounded allegations” by Libya.

He said Qatar should not be dragged into Libya's “internal disputes,” in a statement released late Monday by Qatari state news agency QNA.

The internationally recognized Libyan government -- which in August relocated to the east of the country as militias battled for control of the capital Tripoli -- has accused Qatar as well as Sudan of supplying weapons to its Islamist opponents.

Sudan also denies the allegation.

Libya has slid into chaos since Muammar Qaddafi was overthrown and killed three years ago, with interim authorities confronting powerful militias which fought to oust the veteran dictator.

The authorities have steadily lost ground to the militias and Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn), a mainly Islamist alliance which seized Tripoli airport last month after weeks of fighting.

The advance of Fajr Libya came despite raids by unidentified warplanes near Tripoli airport last month that Washington said at the time were carried out by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

On Monday a warplane carried out an air raid on a military base in western Libya held by anti-government militias, in an attack claimed by renegade former general Khalifa Haftar, who opposes Islamists.

Energy-rich Gulf monarchy Qatar has also been accused of backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and financing jihadists in Syria.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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