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article imageTripoli's only functioning airport says hit by air raid

By AFP     Apr 8, 2019 in Travel

A warplane carried out an air strike Monday against the Libyan capital's only functioning airport and halted all flights, aviation authorities said, as fighting raged for control of Tripoli.

A security source at Mitiga airport east of the city said no side had yet claimed responsibility for the raid, which hit a runway without causing casualties.

The civil aviation authority decided "to suspend aerial traffic until further notice" to Mitiga airport, said Mohammed Gniwa, a spokesman for national carrier Libyan Airlines.

An airport source, who did want to be named, confirmed the closure.

There has been heavy fighting near Tripoli since the forces of military strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an assault on Thursday aimed at taking the capital.

Oil-rich Libya has been rocked by violent power struggles between an array of armed groups since the NATO-backed overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

Haftar, a former Kadhafi military chief, has emerged as a major player, his self-styled Libyan National Army backing an administration in the country's east in opposition to the UN-backed government based in Tripoli.

The capital's main airport was destroyed in fighting in 2014.

Mitiga airport is on a former military base on the city's eastern outskirts, and it was forced to close several times because of clashes between militias last year.

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