Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Tripoli Ceasefire Holds Despite Airport Rocket Fire

Tripoli Ceasefire Holds Despite Airport Rocket Fire

Monday, 12 August, 2019 - 06:15
Smoke rises during a fight between GNA forces and LNA troops in Ain Zara, Tripoli, Libya May 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ayman al-Sahili
Cairo - Khalid Mahmoud

Rocket fire hit the Libyan capital's sole functioning airport Sunday despite a temporary truce between the Government of National Unity (GNA) and forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, who heads the Libyan National Army (LNA).

"Mitiga airport has been targeted by fire this morning, the first day of Eid al-Adha", the airport's management said in a statement on Facebook.

Air traffic was suspended "until further notice", the statement added, alongside photos showing columns of smoke rising from the runway and parked planes.

The GNA and LNA exchanged accusations on which side first violated the ceasefire, which they had agreed to on the occasion of Eid al-Adha based on a proposal made by the UN.

The GNA that is led by Fayez al-Sarraj blamed Haftar's forces for the attack against the airport, and for a separate alleged attack in the Soug al-Jomaa district of Tripoli.

Meanwhile, the death toll in a car bomb explosion in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi rose to three on Sunday, the United Nations said.

LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari told reporters two of those killed were guards with the UN Libya mission (UNSMIL). He added that 10 people had been wounded, including children.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack, a spokesman said in a statement.

"The UN does not intend to evacuate from Libya," the assistant secretary-general for peace operations, Bintou Keita, later told the Security Council, which also condemned the attack.

“This cowardly attack, which comes at a time when Libyans are out shopping in preparation for the Eid al-Adha, serves as another strong reminder of the urgent need for Libyans to stop fighting, set aside their differences, and work together through dialogue, and not violence, to end the conflict,” the UN Special Representative for Libya, Ghassan Salame, said on Saturday.

Editor Picks