Libya's UN-backed government calls airport airstrike a 'war crime'

A crater left by an airstrike that targeted Mitiga airport in the capital Tripoli on Monday.

(CNN)Tripoli's only working airport was targeted in an airstrike on Monday, as forces loyal to renegade Libyan general Khalifa Haftar continued their advance on the capital, ignoring international calls for a truce.

Mitiga airport, in the eastern quarter of Tripoli, was shuttered after it was attacked by Haftar's so-called Libyan National Army (LNA). Libya's United Nations-backed government, the Government of National Accord (GNA), quickly condemned the aerial bombardment, calling it a war crime.
There is also fighting around Tripoli's international airport, 15 miles south of the city center, which has not been operational for years. The GNA admitted Monday that it temporarily lost control of the site to Haftar's fighters.
"Haftar forces attacked Tripoli four days ago, mainly from the south and got as far as controlling Tripoli international airport," a GNA official told CNN Monday. "As of yesterday and today, Monday, Haftar forces have been pushed back and Tripoli secured."
    The same official said militias from the coastal towns of Misrata and Zawia -- which are not under the GNA's direct control -- deployed troops to the capital as part of the counter-offensive against the LNA.
    Luggage trolleys lie in front of the gate of the Mitiga airport after it was attacked Monday.
    Years of fighting among various militias in the war-torn country have reached a crescendo in recent days, as Haftar pushes to take control of the capital.
    The UN said that 3,400 people have been displaced in the upsurge of violence since Haftar ordered LNA forces to march on Tripoli Thursday. Twenty-one people have been killed and 27 injured in the conflict, according to Libya al Ahrar TV, quoting Libya's Ministry of Health.
    The UN and France made shows of support Monday for the GNA's leader, Fayez al-Sarraj, whom Haftar is seeking to unseat.
    The UN Secretary General's Special Representative, Ghassan Salame, met Sarraj in his office in Tripoli to discuss ways the UN Support Mission in Libya "can assist at this critical and difficult juncture," UNSMIL said on Twitter.
    France, meanwhile, said that it wanted Sarraj to remain a "key player" in ongoing efforts to negotiate peace between the GNA and Haftar's forces.
    "France would like Sarraj's government to remain a key player and to try and conclude the peace process negotiated in Abu Dhabi," a spokesperson for French President Emmanuel Macron told CNN.
    The European Union pleaded for a humanitarian truce on Monday, a day after warring parties ignored a UN call for a two-hour halt to fighting.