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Libya airport battle 'has killed at least 97'

Smoke billows during clashes between Libyan security forces and armed groups on July 23, 2014, in the eastern city of BenghaziTwo weeks of fighting between militias in Libya’s capital Tripoli have left 97 people dead, as Egypt and western foreign ministries Sunday urged their citizens to leave amid spiralling violence. Washington evacuated its embassy staff on Saturday, with Secretary of State John Kerry warning the mission had faced a “real risk” from fierce fighting between armed groups for control of Tripoli’s airport. Another 38 people, mostly soldiers, were killed in 24 hours of fighting between the army and Islamists in the eastern city of Benghazi, military and medical officials said on Sunday, a further sign of the chaos plaguing the North African nation. The Tripoli clashes, the most violent since the overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, started with an assault on the airport by a coalition of groups, mainly Islamists, which has since been backed by fighters from third city Misrata.

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