Mitiga Airport brought to standstill by missiles

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Missiles hit Tripoli’s only functioning airport – Mitiga – which remained closed to air traffic, causing chaos and fear among passengers, witnesses said.

Authorities announced the closure of the airport’s airspace twice on Monday after it was hit by rockets. No one has claimed responsibility.

After the destruction of Tripoli International Airport in 2014 in a civil war between armed groups vying for power, Mitiga was the area’s only airport running domestic and international flights.

The airport was targeted by missiles on different occasions in recent years as Libya slid into chaos following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

A few minutes after the airport resumed operations on Monday, passengers preparing to board a Tunisia-bound aircraft were taken back to the terminal when three missiles fell nearby, a Reuters witness said.

Libyans mainly fly to Tunisia for better medical services.

“A missile fell on an open area and caused black smoke,” the witness said.

Many passengers returned to Tripoli as flights were cancelled due to security concerns while others queued seeking information.

“When will this tragedy end?” a woman asked holding her daughter.

People were seen rushing to relatives scheduled to fly.

Airport staff said air operations would likely resume on Wednesday.