Besieged Libyan Capital's Airport Re-opens After 3 Months

Mitiga airport was closed down in September after shelling hit what was Tripoli's only functional civilian airport

The Associated Press
The Associated Press
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File Photo: Libyan militia commander General Khalifa Hifter, August 14, 2017.
File Photo: Libyan militia commander General Khalifa Hifter, August 14, 2017. Credit: Ivan Sekretarev / AP
The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Libyan authorities re-opened the capital's main airport on Thursday, after closing it nearly three months ago amid heavy fighting between rival militias.

Mitiga airport was closed down in September after shelling hit what was Tripoli's only functional civilian airport. At the time, the UN mission in Libya said four projectiles struck the area, with one hitting an airplane carrying pilgrims coming back from Saudi Arabia.

The clashes began eight months ago when eastern-based fighters, the self-styled Libyan National Army, launched a siege to take the capital from the weak but UN-supported government. Since 2015, Libya has been split by rival governments, one in the east and the other in Tripoli.

After almost eight months, the capital's siege has been fought to a stalemate.

Two flights operated by different Libyan carriers took off from Mitiga airport early on Thursday. One flew to neighboring Tunisia's capital, Tunis, and the other to Turkey's capital, Istanbul, according to a pilot and a passenger.

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