Armed clashes paralyse Libya airport, grenades fired at planes

Armed clashes paralyse Libya airport
Tripoli, July 15: Libya's international airport in capital Tripoli came under renewed attack on Monday with dozens of rocket-propelled grenades fired at planes and tarmacs, security sources said.

One witness said that intense gunfire and explosions could be heard in the capital and heavy smoke rose from different sites, Xinhua reported.

The fighting, starting from early Sunday, was between Islamist militant groups and militias from southwestern city of Zintan who has been guarding the crucial air hub since the toppling of Libya' s former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Medical sources said the clashes have so far killed nine and injured more than 30.

Clashes have so far killed nine and injured more than 30

The Islamist militant groups, some affiliated with the government, said that their goal was to expel all militias from Tripoli in a militarised operation dubbed "Libya Dawn". However, the Libyan government issued a statement on Sunday afternoon, condemning the move as "illegitimate".

Tripoli International Airport and Misrata airport have now suspended their operation due to security reasons. Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority also suspended all flights to Tripoli for the next three days and will dispatch a team to monitor the situation.

Libya has witnessed a drastic escalation of violence and political instability since the fall of Gaddafi's government. Libya's weak central government has failed to reign in the former rebels and militias, many of whom now operate with impunity.


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