9 killed in clashes near Tripoli airport

Clashes between the Special Deterrence Force in the airport and the Brigade 33 of Tajura have left over 11 killed and 23 injured

At least nine people were killed when unknown militiamen attacked the Libyan capital's main functioning airport, the UN-recognised government in Tripoli said on Monday.

Reports did not mention if those killed were civilians or fighters.

It said it would give the number of wounded in a later statement. "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.

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The private Alnabaa Libya television channel quoted Abdel-Dayim al-Murabti, the director of a Tripoli field hospital, as saying that the clashes had left 11 people dead and at least 20 others injured.

Flights were suspended and arrivals were diverted to Misrata Airport. Both groups are reportedly aligned with the UN-supported Government of National Accord.

Rada said its forces were attacked by a group or individual named "Bashir the Cow" at Mitiga airport, although there is no confirmation about the identity of the assailant.

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A GNA statement denounced what it called a "premeditated" attack on the airport.

Brigade 33, a militia based in Tajoura, attacked the airport-based Special Deterrence Force, or Rada, one of the most powerful groups in Tripoli, The Libya Observer reported.

"All the staff and passengers who were at the airport were evacuated", the pilot said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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The force posted images of tanks deployed around the airport.

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