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LIBYA CRISIS DEEPENS

90pc of planes in Tripoli airport destroyed

Tripoli, July 15, 2014

A shelling of Tripoli airport has destroyed 90 percent of the planes parked there, government spokesman Ahmed Lamine said on Tuesday.

"The government has studied the possibility to bring international forces to enhance security," he told reporters.

It was not immediately clear how many planes were destroyed, but the airport serves as the main hub for several Libyan carriers.

Meanwhile, the UN has pulled its staff out of Libya where at least 13 people have been killed in fighting in the eastern city of Benghazi and in Tripoli, forcing the closure of the international airport.

Security and medical sources said at least six people had been killed and 25 wounded in Benghazi in heavy fighting between security forces and rival militias since late Sunday.

Militias also clashed in the capital Tripoli on Sunday, killing at least seven people, shutting the main airport and air control centre and effectively leaving Libya with no international flights. The fighting was the worst in the capital for six months.

The UN mission in Libya said the closure of Tripoli International Airport and the deteriorating security situation made it impossible to fulfil its work.

Several Grad rockets hit the airport, damaging the control tower, a Libyan official said. A Reuters reporter at the airport heard anti-aircraft guns and other heavy weapons. Rival militias have been fighting for control of the airport since Sunday. Residents earlier said a Grad rocket struck the airport perimeter late on Monday. No further details were available.

Three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has slipped deeper into chaos with its weak government and new army unable to control brigades of former rebel fighters and militias who often battle for political and economic power. - Reuters




Tags: Flights | airport | libya | Tripoli |

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