By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 20 March 2015:
All flights in and out of Mitiga international have been delayed or . . .[restrict]cancelled following a direct hit to the runway in an Air Force raid.
Airport authorities confirmed to the Libya Herald that the primary runway at Mitiga had been hit early yesterday morning. They added that repairs would take place as soon as possible to return the international airport to working order.
Armed forces spokesman Mohammed Al-Hejazi confirmed the Libyan Air Force’s responsibility for the attack. Mitiga has been bombed several times by the airforce since it became the sole airport accepting flights in and out of Tripoli.
Tripoli International Airport was destroyed in the summer when Libya Dawn forces began the assault which would eventually see them take control of the capital.
Today’s scheduled GASG flight to Sabiha Gokcen International Airport from Mitiga has not departed with Buraq Air’s midday flight to Istanbul cancelled. A number of other flights to Amman, Beida and Istanbul also appear to be facing delays. Afriqiyah Flight 8U970 to Istanbul did take off from Mitiga this morning but over two hours after its scheduled departure time.
Ground staff at Mitiga airport worked furiously yesterday to repair the damaged caused by the airstrike. Pro-Libya Dawn outlet Libya Observer published a video of new tarmac being laid at the blast site, saying a flight successfully departed for Amman Jordan within hours of the attack via Mitiga’s second runway.
The aim of the airstrike appears, beyond causing structural damage, to have been to delay General National Congress (GNC) delegates from attending UN-led peace talks in Morocco.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemned the attack. UN Special Envoy Bernardino Leon said the attacks “represent a deliberate attempt to undermine efforts to find a political solution to the Libyan conflict through dialogue.”
Prior to this most recent attack the Air Force bombed Mitiga at the beginning of the month in what appeared to be a spate of tit for tat bombings after Libya Dawn forces began airstrikes on western Libyan National Army positions.