US, allies worried about growing Libyan violence

The U.S. and European allies are worried about growing violence in Libya and called Wednesday for a ceasefire as fighting between rival militias intensified.

"We are in particular deeply concerned by the increasing toll the violence is taking on Libya’s civilian population and institutions, as well as the threat it poses to Libya’s democratic transition," the U.S. said in a joint statement with the governments of France, Germany, Italy and the U.K. 

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"We deplore the rise in the number of civilian casualties and express deep concern about the shortages in medical supplies, the displacement of thousands of families, the destruction of residences and infrastructure, as well as the halt in economic activity."

Islamist militias from the country's costal regions have attacked rival groups that control key sites in the country, including the international airport in Tripoli and the port in Benghazi. The violence has endangered civilians in both cities.

Members of the warring militias, who have been paid and armed by the central government since the removal and killing of Moammar Gaddafi in 2011, are fighting to gain political influence and clout. The Libyan parliament has so far been unable to agree on and enforce efforts to disarm the roving bands of fighters.

Earlier Wednesday, the parliament adopted a resolution asking the United Nations Security Council to help intervene amid the violence.

The U.S. and its European allies said they supported U.N. efforts "to achieve an immediate ceasefire and to end the bloodshed."

"Violence cannot and must not be a means to achieve political goals or settle ideological differences," the nations said.

"Only through political dialogue, inclusiveness, and consensus can Libyans move the country beyond the current crisis and build the free, prosperous, democratic, and secure state for which they have sacrificed so much."