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Militias Vandalize Airbus at Mitiga Airport | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Smoke rises after an airstrike hit Mitiga airport, in Tripoli March 5, 2015. REUTERS/Hani Amara

Cairo-A Tripoli militia slashed on Wednesday the tires of an Afriqiyah Airways A330 Airbus at Mitiga International Airport to prevent it from taking off. Sources said that vandalizing the airplane was to prevent it from taking off following rumors that it might be heading towards Turkey.

Mitiga Airport administration announced that flights were resumed around 12 hours after the accident while Fayez al-Sarraj’s national accord government, supported by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), remained silent.

Like all airports in Tripoli, Mitiga Airport is controlled by an armed group that has links with Islamists and has seized the Libyan capital after fierce battles. Foreign airlines suspended flights to Libya mid-2015 when Fajr Libya Forces took over the main airport in Tripoli.

The European Union expressed its determination to expand military operations known as Sophia, after a statement issued in Brussels said the first one hundred fighters from Libyan forces started to receive training.

Germany also proposed to participate in the training program. The EU is in a quest to put an end to weapons smuggling to Libya and to suppress illegal immigration from Africa to Europe.

French President François Hollande invited Sarraj to visit Paris in the coming days. Hollande stated that the solution to stop chaos in Libya is to support the national unity government.

Sarraj’s government is managing the country’s affairs but it seems that it is failing to impose its authority over all areas especially due to the presence of a second government that controls the country’s east.