September 1, 2019 / 11:52 AM / 20 days ago

Artillery fire shuts airport in Libyan capital

TRIPOLI, Sept 1 (Reuters) - The only functioning airport in the Libyan capital was closed on Sunday after being struck by artillery fire overnight.

There were conflicting reports on the number of injuries at Mitiga airport. A media officer for the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) said four people had been wounded, including three haj pilgrims.

Nearby Mitiga hospital received one small girl who had been wounded, a doctor there told Reuters.

Photos on social media showed a damaged passenger jet operated by Libyan Airlines. Some cars parked at the airport were also damaged, a Reuters witness said.

The source of the attack was not immediately clear. Mitiga, just east of central Tripoli, has repeatedly come under attack in the past several months, forcing it to halt flights for several hours.

The airport has been targeted during fighting involving the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), which launched an offensive in April for control of the capital and has been battling forces aligned with the GNA.

The LNA, which has previously hit the airport with air strikes, had said it was targeting “an operation room of Turkish drones” at the facility.

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Yousef Saba and Dale Hudson

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