Tripoli militias have staged an attempted coup against Libya’s United Nations-backed government, seizing key state buildings and a TV station and pledging they are ready to fight to take power.
After capturing the central Rixos hotel, home of the government’s state council assembly, on Friday night, the plotters issued a televised statement declaring the coup a “historic initiative to rescue Libya”.
In what is the most serious crisis faced by the Government of National Accord (GNA) since its creation, with strong international support, late last year, its presidency issued a counter-statement ordering the interior ministry to arrest the coup leaders.
The coup unfolded after militias from the plotters and the GNA confronted each other around the Rixos, a complex of administrative buildings, with GNA forces pulling back in the late afternoon without violence.
The plotters are led by Khalifa al-Ghwell, former prime minister of the national salvation government, which was displaced by the GNA when it arrived in the capital in March. In its statement, the plotters declared the GNA was now “void” and had been replaced by the salvation government.