Flights at Tripoli airport suspended after rocket fire

Forces loyal to the internationally recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) drive through Tripoli's old airport on April 8, 2019. - Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar's forces are battling for control of an area some 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of the capital near Tripoli's international airport, which was destroyed in 2014. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP) (Photo credit should read MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Forces loyal to the United Nations-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) are pictured at the entrance gate leading to Tripoli’s old airport. (Photo credit MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)

Flights at Mitiga international airport, Tripoli’s only operational airport, were suspended on Friday after its perimeter was hit by rocket fire, according to a spokesman for Libyan Airlines who spoke to AFP.

Mohamad Ghnewa said that a flight bound for the Libyan capital from Istanbul was diverted to Misrata airport, which is located about 200 kilometres to the east.

Authorities at Mitiga are confident diverted flights will soon be able to resume landing at the airport.

This is not the first time that flights have been suspended at Mitiga airport. Suspensions have occurred several times in the last few months after a conflict broke out between forces of the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army.

Khalifa Haftar, a commander from the east, launched a campaign to take Tripoli, where the UN-backed government is based, in early April.

Mitiga is located on a former military base on the outskirts of Tripoli. It was opened to civilian air traffic after Tripoli’s international airport was badly damaged in 2014 during heavy fighting between armed groups.

Libyan Airlines, the flag carrier of Libya, flies within Libya and also operates services to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

According to the World Health Organisation, 691 people have been killed in the armed conflict and more than 4,000 people have been injured.

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