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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Libya's Tripoli airport reopens after closure due to clashes

Mitiga airport reopened on Saturday and appeared to be operating normally

The Libyan capital's only working international airport reopened today after fighting killed at least 20 people and damaged several planes earlier this week. Mahmud Turkia/ AFP Photo
The Libyan capital's only working international airport reopened today after fighting killed at least 20 people and damaged several planes earlier this week. Mahmud Turkia/ AFP Photo

The only functioning airport in the Libyan capital reopened on Saturday after a five-day closure caused by deadly clashes that left passenger jets damaged.

Mitiga airport, located just east of Tripoli city centre, appeared to be operating normally, with both departures and arrivals areas busy with passengers.

"All domestic and international flights have ...resumed," said an airport official who asked not to be named for security reasons. "No technical problems have been reported and security is under control."

Fighting on Monday pitted the Special Deterrence Force (SDF), which is aligned with the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), and an armed group based in the nearby Tajoura district.

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Read more: UN's Libya envoy sounds alarm after militia clashes in Tripoli

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At least 20 people were killed and 60 wounded. The four Libyan airlines operating out of Mitiga have been rushing to repair or replace aircraft that were hit by gunfire or artillery while parked there during the battle.

Flights to evacuate or repatriate foreign migrants from Tripoli, which are mainly operated by UN agencies, were suspended because of Mitiga's closure.

Tripoli has frequently been shaken by clashes between armed groups since Libya slid into chaos and violence following the overthrow of Mummar Gaddafi in 2011. Under the GNA, several large groups have expanded their power and the situation remains fragile.

Tripoli's main international airport was badly damaged by fighting in 2014 and is still out of service.