Flights suspended in Libya’s Tripoli following shelling

By Walid Abdullah

TRIPOLI (AA) – Aviation has been suspended at Mitiga International Airport in Libyan capital Tripoli after several artillery shells fell on the airport late Tuesday.

The airport said on its official Facebook page that all aircraft had since been relocated away from the airport, with scheduled flights taking off from Misurata International Airport (located roughly 200 kilometers east of Tripoli).

The airport went on to praise pilots and airport personnel, who, it said, had “rushed to relocate vital aircraft [away from the airport] and who carried out their responsibilities despite the dangers”.

Meanwhile, uneasy calm prevailed in Tripoli on Wednesday after limited clashes erupted one day earlier between rival groups in different parts of the capital, including the road to the airport.

In a statement, Libya’s General Electricity Company (GECOL) said a power line had been damaged by fighting in southern Tripoli, going on to warn of the possibility of power outages.

Tripoli enjoyed several days of calm this week after a UN-backed ceasefire was signed last week between rival militias reportedly affiliated with Libya’s Tripoli-based unity government.

According to the Libyan Health Ministry, at least 66 people have been killed in the fighting that first erupted on August 26.

Libya has remained dogged by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of longstanding leader Muammar Gaddafi after four decades in power.

Since then, Libya’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power — one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli — and a host of heavily-armed militia groups.