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Iran Press TV

Flights in, out of Tripoli airport suspended after attack

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 22 January 2020 1:50 PM

Libya's embattled UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) says all flights into and out of the sole functioning airport in the capital, Tripoli, have been suspended after it came under a rocket attack.

Six military-grade Grad rockets targeted Mitiga International Airport on Wednesday, according to the GNA.

Mohammed Gnunu, the spokesman for government forces, labeled the attack as a "flagrant threat" to the safety of air traffic, and condemned it as a "new violation" of the ceasefire.

The airport had only reopened early last week following a truce in nine months of fighting for control of the capital with forces loyal to renegade General Khalifa Haftar.

The attack comes just a few days after a summit on the Libyan crisis was held in the German capital of Berlin at weekend, which saw the formation of a military commission that is supposed to define ways of consolidating a cessation of hostilities.

Since 2014, Libya has been divided between two rival camps – the Tripoli-based GNA led by Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and a camp supported militarily by Haftar's militias in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Haftar, who is mainly backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, launched an offensive in April to capture Tripoli and unseat the UN-recognized government; however, his forces have been bogged down near the capital.

After months of combat, which has killed more than 2,000 people, a ceasefire was agreed to take effect on January 12 but was soon ignored.

On Sunday, leaders from Turkey, Russia, Egypt, France, Italy, Britain and the United States, as well as Sarraj and Haftar, attended the UN-backed summit in Berlin to help establish a "permanent" ceasefire between the warring sides.

The final communiqué of the day-long summit urged all the parties concerned in the persisting conflict "to redouble their efforts for a sustained suspension of hostilities, de-escalation and a permanent ceasefire."

The oil-rich country plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi and his execution by unruly fighters.

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