Heavy gunfire as Libyan parliament stormed

Smoke rises over the General National Congress building in Tripoli May 18, 2014. Photo: Reuters
Clashes have erupted outside the Libyan parliament in the capital, Tripoli, in an attack being claimed by forces loyal to a retired army general accused of launching a coup attempt.
Officials say irregular forces commanded by General Khalifa Haftar attacked the building Sunday in an attempt to arrest Islamist lawmakers.
The lawmakers, however, were evacuated from the building before the attack.
A security official said the gunmen also closed the road leading to General National Congress and shelled a nearby military base controlled by an Islamist militia.
Other local reports suggest some MPs may have been taken hostage.
Forces loyal to the renegade general control several zones in southern Tripoli around the capital\’s airport.
A planned new constitution remains unwritten and the country has had three prime ministers since March.
The situation in Tripoli remains unclear, with some reports suggesting parliament had advance warning of the attack and suspended its session.
The violence in Tripoli came after deadly fighting in the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday between the general\’s so-called "National Army" and Islamist militiamen.
Libya\’s parliament is divided between Islamist and non-Islamist forces who have argued over appointing a new government and holding new elections. Recently, Islamists backed the naming of a new prime minister, despite walkouts from the non-Islamist groups.
Source: Agencies
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