Libya’s transitional parliament, the General National Congress (GNC), has announced that it will hand over power to the newly elected House of Representatives, on 4 August.

The decision was issued on 23 July in a written statement from the GNC’s president, Nuri Abu Sahmain (pictured).

There have been calls from within Libya for the GNC to hand over power as quickly as possible in an effort to address the on-going violence in Tripoli, but any hopes that the latest announcement would quell fighting in the capital were dashed that same day as Tripoli saw some of the heaviest fighting since the current turf war began.

Residents complained of heavy bombardments with mortars, and Grad rockets reducing buildings to rubble in the area around Tripoli International airport. A fuel tanker near the airport also went up in flames after being hit during shelling.

The current outbreak of violence started on 13 July as Islamist-led militias from the port city of Misrata tried to seize the airport, which has been controlled by brigades from the mountain town of Zintan since the revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Under a law passed by the GNC the new assembly is due to sit in Benghazi, Libya’s second city, but concerns about safety have been voiced by both members of the GNC and the House of Representatives.

Since 2011 Benghazi has seen the worst of Libya’s post-revolutionary turmoil, with assassinations and bombings taking place on a weekly basis. On 22 July 2014 two suicide bombers killed four soldiers in the city as part of a battle between Islamist militants and rogue army units, which has seen frequent clashes in the city for the past two months.

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