Oil tanker catches fire amid clashes in Libyan capital, government appeals for help


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CAIRO — The Libyan government is appealing for "international help" after several oil tankers caught fire amid clashes over the country's international airport in the capital, Tripoli.

In a statement posted on its website on Monday, the interim government says the fighting between rival militias caused the huge blaze, which could trigger a "humanitarian and environmental disaster."

Libyan TV stations are calling on residents to evacuate areas near the airport. Social networking sites posted images of billowing black smoke over Tripoli skyline.

The battle for control of the airport began two weeks ago when Islamist-led militias — mostly from the western city of Misrata — launched a surprise assault on the airport, under control of rival militias from the western mountain town of Zintan.

The fighting has killed dozens of people.

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