Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Libya: Tripoli Airport Sutains Rocket Attacks Four Days in a Row

According to AFP, Tripoli International Airport (TIP) came under rocket fire Wednesday (July 16) for a fourth straight day, in attacks aimed at ousting anti-Islamist fighters who control the facility, a Libyan security official said.

"The airport was again targeted by mortar fire and rockets for several hours," an official said, asking not to be named.

An AFP photographer said the bombing sparked fires around the airport, setting ablaze to a cargo aircraft on the tarmac and a customs warehouse, sending firefighters into action.

Islamist militias have since Sunday (July 13) unleashed dozens of rockets at the airport, damaging roughly a dozen planes and closing down Libya's main air link with the outside world.

An airport official said Wednesday that the facility, controlled by liberal ex-rebels from Zintan, southwest of the capital, would probably remain shut for "several weeks, if not months.
COMMENT: Needless to say, foreign business travelers need to be leaving Libya not going there.

The Zintan fighters, in control of the airport for the past three years, have deployed armored cars and pickups on access roads to head off any ground attack.

On Monday, the airport in the country's third largest city of Misrata was also forced to shut down because it is linked to the control tower in Tripoli.

Flights resumed on Tuesday night (July 15) at Misrata and also at Miitiga military airport in the suburbs of Tripoli, allowing Libyans stranded at airports around the world to return home.

With liberal and Islamist militias locked in a deadly power struggle, the Libyan government has said it is considering calling for international forces to help restore public safety.

NATO warplanes helped topple and kill the late Libyan dictator Colonel Kadhafi on October 20, 2011, sparking a power struggle between rival armed groups that has impaired the North African country ever since.