15 July 2014

Libya Ponders International Help After Tripoli Airport Hit By Heavy Shelling

Photo: Kate Thomas/IRIN
A Libyan rebel fighter

Libyan authorities have said they may ask for international help after a flare-up of violence. Militants have intensified their shelling of Tripoli's airport, with planes and a control tower said to have been hit.

Government spokesman Ahmed Lamine said the government was considering outside help, adding that 90 percent of the planes parked at the airport had been destroyed.

"The government has studied the possibility to bring international forces to enhance security," he said on Tuesday.

The clashes around the airport - which is now closed - began on Sunday and have involved rival militias fighting to secure the transport hub.

"Tens of rockets fell on the international airport, and some of its facilities as well as a commercial plane were directly hit" the Libyan news agency LANA said.

Various Arab media reported that the airport control tower had been damaged, when the airport was hit by several Grad rockets. Libyan Arab Airlines said the crew of a damaged plane belonging to its sister carrier Afriqiyah Airlines had been transferred to the third largest city of Misrata, where international flights were operating.

A militia called the Stability and Security Force is vying to seize the airport from the Zintan rebel group from northwestern Libya, which has controlled it since the ouster of late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

At least 15 people have died in fighting in Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi - where security forces are fighting militia - since Sunday.

The UN Support Mission in Libya on Monday said it was withdrawing its staff "temporarily," with the closure of the airport and the deteriorating security situation making its job impossible.

(AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

Copyright © 2014 Deutsche Welle. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.