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Only functioning airport in Libya's Tripoli hit by air raid - reports

Only functioning airport in Libya's Tripoli hit by air raid - reports
The only functioning airport in the Libyan capital of Tripoli has been hit in an air raid, local TV and several agencies report, citing eyewitnesses. Heavy fighting broke out between the forces of the country's two governments.

A military aircraft belonging to the Libyan National Army forces has reportedly targeted Mitiga airport, located in the Libyan capital’s eastern suburb. Commanded by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar the group challenged the government in Tripoli for power.

The Libyan authorities confirmed that the airport was closed following the airstrike, but provided no additional information on casualties or damage resulting from it. Mitiga has been the only airport used for international flights since the capital’s international airport was destroyed back in 2014.

Photos surfacing on social media show black smoke billowing over the airport’s runway, although no major damage can be seen. The people, who posted the photos, claimed there were some explosions, which they say were a result of the bombing raid. This information cannot be independently verified, though.

The news comes amid ongoing clashes between the forces loyal to the Tripoli-based UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and Haftar’s LNA, which supports a rival government in the Libyan eastern city of Tobruk.

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Earlier Haftar vowed to seize Tripoli and “liberate” it from those he called “militias and terrorists.” In response, the UN-backed government launched a counteroffensive dubbed ‘Volcano of Rage’ to stop Haftar’s approaching troops.

Later, some reports suggested that both sides engaged air forces to support their troops. On Sunday, local media reported on continued “fierce fighting” around Tripoli International Airport while providing conflicting information on which side controls the area.

Libya has been devastated by a prolonged civil war, lasting since NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ intervention and airstrike campaign in 2011, which decimated the national armed forces and eventually helped armed militants to murder Libya’s long-time ruler, Muammar Gaddafi.

Now, most of the country is controlled by Haftar’s forces. So far, at least 25 people have allegedly been killed since clashes broke out on the outskirts of Tripoli.

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