Benghazi airspace shut for hours “for security reasons”


Libya closed its air space over Benghazi airport temporarily for unspecified security reasons, three days after the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an Islamist militant attack on the U.S. consulate in the city.

Airport manager Taba Mohammed did not spell out reasons for the closure, which he said ran for about 10 hours from 0030 GMT. U.S. officials said earlier a Marine Corps anti-terrorist squad was being sent into Libya to shore up security.
“We have now reopened the air space. It was closed for routine security checks,” Mohammed told Reuters.

The U.S. military was also moving two destroyers toward the coast of the North African state, giving the Obama administration flexibility for any future action against militant threats, the officials said.

The United States and Libya have agreed to cooperate closely in investigating the attack in Benghazi, a hotbed of anti-Western Islamists, some with links to al Qaeda, since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a popular revolt last year.

Turkish Airlines said the closure of Benghazi air space had forced one of its flights with 121 people aboard to turn back to Istanbul on Friday.
“When it took off it (closure) was not the case but when the plane reached their air space it found out the airport was closed,” a Turkish Airlines official said.