By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 21 March 2014:
Tripoli airport closed this morning and flights diverted . . .[restrict]to Mitiga after missiles were said to have been fired at the main runway.
An aiport authority official told the Libya Herald that the attack had happened while an Afriqiya flight was taking off, but there has been no confirmation of this or of claims that a missile was also fired towards the control tower.
According to one airline source there are two holes at the end of the runway “caused by explosives”.
He said that he had been informed that the airport would reopen in the afternoon, using the old north-south runway.
An official from another airline said that he had been phoned at around 10am to be told that the airport was closed with immediate effect for runaway maintenance and that flights would be diverted to Mitiga.
The possibility of the airport reopening this afternoon was questioned by the airport authority official because, he said, many staff had left. Passengers from the Tripoli area had returned home, but those from other parts of the country in transit were forced to wait.
A number of airlines have cancelled today’s fights, including Tunisair, Royal Jordanian, Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa. Other flights are being rescheduled.