Rival Libyan forces say they have captured Tripoli airport

Forces loyal to rival Libyan army commander Khalifa Hifter say they have seized control of the main airport in Libya's capital Tripoli, two days after Hifter ordered his forces to seize the seat of Libya's U.N.-backed government.

Hifter's media office says Saturday that troops also captured the area of Wadi el-Rabeia, south of Tripoli, amid clashed with rival militias.

The airport has not been functional since fighting in 2014 destroyed much of the facility.

There was no immediate statement from the U.N.-backed government, the militias that support it, or the U.N..

Hifter's forces have sparked fears of a major showdown with the militias.

Such a conflict could plunge Libya into another spasm of violence, possibly the worst since the 2011 civil war that toppled and later killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi