Libya cut off as Tripoli airport comes under rocket attack

Jul 15, 2014

Government considers asking for international help as 90% of planes destroyed in latest attack


Libya's largest international airport has been shut down after it came under rocket attack from armed militias, killing two people, Al Jazeera reports.

A government spokesperson reported that more than 90 per cent of the planes stationed at the airport had been destroyed in the attack, as well as the main control tower.

The latest assault comes just a day after renewed fighting between militias in the North African country, in which seven people were killed, forced the airport to close.

There are now no flights available between Libya and Europe, as the country's other airports in Benghazi and Misrata have also been closed because of the fighting.

Libya's interim government says it is considering making a request for international assistance to help re-establish security in the Tripoli and Benghazi. The UN says it has "temporarily" withdrawn its staff from Tripoli amid security concerns.

Libya is currently experiencing one of the "worst spasms of violence" since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011, says Al Jazeera, as the militias, which now control much of the country, fight over territory.

Militias have become "powerful players" in post-Gaddafi Libya, "filling a void left by weak police and security and cooperating with the government to provide order".

The armed groups are considered to both "a blessing and a curse", the BBC reports, as they provide security in many parts of the country but have also been accused of severe human rights abuses.

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