Published: Tue, January 16, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

9 killed in clashes near Tripoli airport

9 killed in clashes near Tripoli airport

Local media reported that almost 30 people had been wounded in the fighting, which caused Mitiga to suspend all flights until further notice.

The airport was empty in late afternoon, when the clashes had largely died down, though pilots flew several aircraft across the capital to the global airport - closed since 2014 due to damage from earlier fighting - in an effort to protect them.

Flights have been suspended while the sound of gunfire and artillery could be heard from the capital, Reuters reported.

"The criminal militia known as Bashir al-Baqarah and all the criminals wanted by the Deterrent Force attacked the International Airport after escaping (from jail) and joining the militia", said the Special Deterrent Force.

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Brigade 33, a militia based in Tajoura, attacked the airport-based Special Deterrence Force, or Rada, one of the most powerful groups in Tripoli, The Libya Observer reported.

The force noted that the attackers were being dealt with "until they are defeated and expelled from the M'etiga airport and the prison, where more than 2,500 inmates are detained on various charges".

The GNA said the attack had "endangered the lives of passengers, affected aviation safety and terrorized residents". We saw tanks in the perimeter of the airport, he added.

The Presidential Council of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) declared a state of emergency in the country's capital of Tripoli on Monday over the deadly clashes at the Mitiga International Airport, according to the GNA's statement.

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Government employees were evacuated and schools closed down in the area.

The Tripoli factions sometimes clash in turf battles or over killings or detentions of their members.

It's the second encounter between the two groups within a month.

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