Libya's Misrata airport closes after Tripoli battle

Libyas Misrata airport closes after Tripoli battle
An airport source in the capital said the decision to close the airport in third city Misrata was taken for ‘technical reasons’. 

‘The headquarters for the entire western region is at Tripoli airport, and following its closure, Misrata airport also has to close,’ said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, of the facility 200 kilometres (125 miles) to the west. 

Tripoli international airport was shut down for three days on Sunday after the anti-Islamist Zintan militia that controls it came under attack, airport officials said. 

At least six people were killed in heavy exchanges of fire, a health ministry official said. ‘Libya is now practically cut off from the outside world,’ the airport source said, adding that the three-day closure of Tripoli airport may be extended. 

There are now only two other airports operating, at Bayda and Tobruk in the east, the source said. 
However, foreigners are banned from flying to the east of the country, under a government decision. 
This decision was taken after renegade general Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive in main eastern city Benghazi against powerful Islamist militias in mid-May. 

Sunday's Tripoli airport attack was claimed by Islamist militias determined to oust the Zintan group from key sites it controls in south of the capital, including the airport. 

The attack was beaten off, but there were also clashes at other Zintan-controlled sites for several hours, especially on the road to the airport.


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