September 26, 2018 / 9:26 AM / 3 months ago

Tripoli airport reopens after closure due to clashes

FILE PHOTO: A man walks inside the empty Mitiga airport, in Tripoli, Libya, September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Hani Amara

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The only functioning airport in the Libyan capital Tripoli will reopen its airspace on Wednesday afternoon after clashes between rival militias forced it to close two weeks ago, the airport administration said.

Mitiga airport was shut after rockets were fired in its direction. Flights were diverted to Misrata airport about 190 km (120 miles) east of Tripoli.

“The carriers are expected to resume flights by the beginning of next week “ the administration said.

The facility, a former U.S military basei, closed twice this month due to indiscriminate shelling but no severe damages were reported.

At least 115 people were killed and more than 380 wounded in the fighting that pitted the Seventh Brigade, or Kaniyat, from Tarhouna, a town 65 km (45 miles) southeast of Tripoli, against the Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigades (TRB) and the Nawasi, two of the capital’s largest armed groups.

Tripoli and western Libya are run by a U.N.-backed government mainly supported by armed groups, while eastern Libya is controlled by a rival administration. The country has been riven since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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