A firefighter stands near smoke and rubble of buildings damaged after explosions that took place at midnight, in the Salaheddin district of Tripoli May 21, 2014. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny (LIBYA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
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The top commander of Libya's air force has announced he backs a renegade general's offensive against Islamist lawmakers and extremist militias, further building support from the country's fragmented military for a campaign the government describes as a coup.Col. Gomaa al-Abbani, the chief commander of Libya's air force, gave a televised address Tuesday night in which he said his forces would back Gen. Khalifa Hifter. Military units and commanders have made a series of loyalty pledges to Hifter's "Libyan National Army" and his offensive Friday against Islamist militias in the eastern city of Benghazi. Militias apparently allied to Hifter launched an attack Sunday against Libya's parliament as his group declared the lawmaking body suspended. Hifter served as Gadhafi's military chief of staff, but found himself captured by Chadian forces in the late 1980s.
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