Libya's Tripoli airport reopens after 2-month closure
TRIPOLI, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Libya's Minister of Transport Milad Ma'tug on Tuesday announced the reopening of Mitiga International Airport in the capital Tripoli after two months of closure.
The minister said that the airspace of the airport was open now, but adding that the resumption of flights could take less than two weeks.
"In order to resume air traffic in Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli, we asked the UN Support Mission in Libya to take some procedures along with international parties concerned with Libya," Ma'tug told a joint press conference along with the UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame.
"This is purely a civilian airport that provides services for more than 1.5 million people annually," the minister said.
Salame confirmed that the airport is civilian and has no signs of military use.
"The main parts of the airport, including the airstrip, the hangars and the arrival terminals, are all clear of any military signs and are not used for military purposes," Salame said.
Salame also reiterated the importance of reopening the airport for Libyans, humanitarian workers, diplomats, and the flights to transport migrants agreeing on voluntary return.
The Mitiga International Airport has been hit by shelling several times previously amid the clashes between the eastern-based army and the UN-backed government in Tripoli, forcing authorities to close it two months ago and redirect flights to the Misurata International Airport, some 200 km east of Tripoli.
The eastern-based army has been leading a military campaign since early April in and around Tripoli, attempting to take over the city and overthrow the UN-backed government.
The armed conflict has killed and injured thousands of people, and displaced nearly 120,000 civilians away from their homes.
The eastern-based army has accused the UN-backed government of using Mitiga International Airport for military purposes, which the government strongly denies.