By Libya Herald reporters.
Benghazi, 26 November 2016:
Benghazi’s Benina airport, closed to all but diplomatic and military flights, today saw its first commercial arrival in two and a half years. But it does not signal the restart of regular services.
The unidentified cargo plane brought “equipment” and “medical supplies” early this morning. Footage was posted of laughing men in camouflage fatigues moving relatively light cardboard boxes directly from the aircraft’s cargo hold to the back of an enclosed truck.
The consignment of medicines, bandages and other health equipment arrived yesterday in Tobruk on a flight from Germany. It was then transhipped on another plane to Benina from where it is being distributed to hospitals and clinics in and around Benghazi.
The airport’s director Usama Al-Mansour who greeted today’s flight stressed that it did not mark the return of commercial airlines to Benina. There was still work to be done on the terminal, he said.
There also remains the issue of security. Though last week when it overran the Gwarsha Gate, the army captured what is thought to be the terrorists’ only remaining Grad rocket launcher, perimeter security at the airport remains a key concern.
Military flights operating from the airbase section of the field have some technical and speed protection against ground to air shoulder launched missiles, while civilian airliners would be highly vulnerable.
Today terrorists tried a breakout from the east of their Ganfouda enclave which the army reported it had beaten back, with two militants killed. Their corpses were taken to the Benghazi Medical Centre.
Meanwhile an attempt by troops to push into the terrorist enclave from the south was frustrated by walls of burning tyres. The army has given no details of its operation against terrorists in Sabri which was launched at the start of the week.