For the second day in a row, Tripoli’s only functioning airport was hit in the early hours of today by artillery shells fired by Islamist militias based in the city’s eastern suburb of Tajoura.
Ahmed Salem, spokesman of the city’s Special Deterrence Force which controls the airport, said the shelling has damaged an Airbus A320 belonging to the Libyan Airlines and the airport’s arrival area. Mr Salem has blamed the attack on Tajoura-based militias led by Bashir Khalfallah (aka Bograh).
In the early hours of Wednesday, two mortar shells were fired at the airport one of which hit a nearby mosque [tweet below].
For several months, the airport has generated tension in Libya’s capital city as rival militias vie for its control. The Special Deterrence Force, which nominally operates under the interior ministry of the country’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), is acting as the city’s main police force tackling crime and terrorism issues. While its rivals are labelled as ‘anti-GNA’ and said to be closely affiliated with Sadiq Al-Ghariani, a Tripoli-based controversial cleric.
Tensions between the two camps persist after engaging in January’s fierce fighting near the airport which killed 20 people and damaged several aircraft.