The manager of the Benghazi Benina International Airport claimed that the airport was closed shortly after midnight due to security concerns. The manager said
“Benghazi airspace has been closed since 00:30 GMT for routine security checks."
He did not elaborate.
Some have suggested that flights were grounded to prevent suspects who might have taken part in the attack on the U.S. consulate from escaping. There have been reports that the attacks involved foreigners. But Cassie Blombaum
an intelligence analyst with the UK-based Inkerman group said that the primary purpose of the closure was to enable American drone aircraft to mount patrols. One wonders why authorities would need to close the airport for this purpose.
Blombaum had reported as far back as June that U.S. drones had been operating in Libya and monitoring activity around Derna a city where militant commanders have long held sway. There have even been reports of drone attacks. One in particular was alleged to have been directed at a training camp run by commandeer Abdulbasit Azuz from Derna who himself complained of the attack. However there was no independent verification of such an attack. Of course the U.S. provides no information about the drone program and it is not known how many drones are in operation.
Some speculated that the airport was closed to allow deployment of U.S. Special Forces
for an attack against militants. In any event, drones were launched over the city. In response militants fired at the drones with anti-aircraft guns. Many believe that the airport was closed in response to this action as authorities feared that civilian planes might be hit.. The Libyan government authorized the use of drones over Benghazi according to Libya's Deputy Interior Minister. The more the U.S. is visibly present in Libya the more backlash there will be and attacks against the Libyan government for cooperating with the U..S. may increase. In the appended video Pepe Escobar suggests that drones would be used to attack militant compounds.