Nine killed in clashes near airport in Libyan capital

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An airplane flies over Tripoli International Airport in Tripoli, Libya, February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny
An airplane flies over Tripoli International Airport in Tripoli, Libya, February 16, 2017. REUTERS

At least nine people were killed on Monday in clashes between rival armed groups near Mitiga airport in the Libyan capital Tripoli, a health ministry official said.

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

Heavy gunfire could be heard from the centre of the capital.

The fighting is between the Special Deterrence Force (Rada), one of the most powerful groups in the city, and a rival group based in Tripoli’s Tajoura neighbourhood.

Rada acts as an anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit and controls Mitiga airport and a large prison next to it.

It is occasionally targeted by rivals whose members it has arrested.

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