By Sami Zaptia.
London, 7 October 2019:
Airstrikes continued over the weekend as the fighting between the pro Khalifa Hafter forces and those defending Tripoli seems to be no nearer coming to an end despite much international talk of peace and a return to dialogue.
On Saturday, Misrata airport was the subject of a hit attributed to Hafter’s forces. It is reported that there was minor damage to a Libyan Airlines and a Wings Airlines aircraft and damage (supported by photographs) to a mobile flashlight unit. Libya Airlines reported later that its craft had been fixed and had taken off on a scheduled flight. The airstrike led to the airport being closed temporarily.
Pro Hafter media sources said that the strike on Misrata airport targeted mobile aerials used to guide military drones using Misrata Aviation Academy as a base. This is not the first time that the Hafter side has made this accusation.
It will be recalled that Misrata airport is the only functioning airport in north western Libya servicing around three million people. Mitiga airport was closed in early September after it too was subjected to a hit attributed by Tripoli to Hafter.
In a condemnation statement issued on the same day, the Tripoli-aligned Interior Ministry insisted that what the Hafter forces struck was indeed an electric generator powering a mobile set of flashlights used to provide light for the airport.
It reported that ricochets from the strike caused damage to two civilian aircrafts and injury to a ground service worker.
The Interior Ministry reminded that this act was a criminal act under both Libyan and international law and warned media outlets that encouraged it that they too may be committing a crime. It also called on the international community to record these criminal acts and take the necessary action.
The Italian embassy also condemned the Misrata airport attack and called for the planned Berlin conference process to be used for political dialogue.