Gunmen attack Libya’s Tripoli international airport, kill 16

Tripoli: A group on Monday attacked Libya’s Tripoli International Airport with heavy weapons, killing 16 people and injuring several others.

“The criminal militia known as Bashir al-Baqarah and all the criminals wanted by the Deterrent Force attacked the International Airport after escaping (jail) and joining the militia,” the Special Deterrent Force in charge of securing the airport said in a statement on its Facebook page.

The force noted that the attackers were being dealt with “until they are defeated and expelled from the M’etiga airport and the prison, where more than 2,500 inmates are detained on various charges”, Xinhua news agency reported.

The force posted images of tanks deployed around the airport.

The head of the field hospital of Tripoli confirmed that three people were killed and several others were injured in the clashes.

The head of the Civil Aviation Authority Nasr-Addin Shayeb al-Ain said the airport has been temporarily closed for security reasons.

“The closure of the airport was because of the ongoing clashes. We are waiting for the clashes to stop and for the airport to be secure again to resume air traffic,” al-Ain told Xinhua, pointing out that flights have been temporarily transferred to the airport of Misurata city, some 250 km east Tripoli.

The M’eiga International Airport of Tripoli witnessed frequent clashes and armed attacks, most recently in October 2017.

However, Monday’s attack is the most violent one the airport has witnessed so far, as gunmen attacked the air hub and the prison inside it, where hundreds of terrorists have been detained over the past few years.