Planes destroyed as rockets hit Libya airport

Tripoli. Several rockets have reportedly hit the airport in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, where fighting between rival armed groups has been raging since Sunday.

Tripoli. Several rockets have reportedly hit the airport in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, where fighting between rival armed groups has been raging since Sunday.

Several Grad rocket struck the airport late on Monday, destroying 90 percent of the planes parked there, government spokesman Ahmed Lamine said.

“The government has studied the possibility to bring international forces to enhance security,” he said. The rockets damaged the airport’s control tower and two people were killed in the attack, the Reuters news agency reported.

Authorities had closed the airport due to previous fighting on Sunday, which medics say killed at least seven people .

Rival militias have clashed for control of the airport. The powerful Zintan armed group, which has been in control of the airport since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, was still holding it by Monday.

Meanwhile, the United Nations mission in Libya said it was withdrawing its staff from Libya “temporarily” because of the deteriorating security in the country. All flights to and from the airport have been suspended until at least Wednesday.

The BBC’s Rana Jawad in Tripoli says the airport’s control tower has been damaged, along with fuel tanks and service areas, while the customs house has been completely destroyed.

Government spokesman Ahmed Lamine said that 90% of the planes stationed at the airport had been damaged.

He said the government was considering a request for “international forces to enhance security”.

“This would give the government time to build the state and institutions,” he added.

On Sunday, militia including members of the Islamist Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room (LROR) tried to seize control of the airport from the Zintan militia. Our correspondent says both militias are believed to be on the official payroll.

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