By Moutaz Ali and Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 13 July 2014:
Five people have been killed and 25 wounded in fighting in . . .[restrict]Tripoli today between Zintanis and the anti-Zintani “Operation Dawn” forces, a health official has said.
The source from the Ministry of Health in Tripoli told the Libya Herald that the casualties had arrived at the capital’s hospitals but could not say whether the dead and wounded were combatants or civilians.
Fighting has continued between Qaaqaa and Sawaq brigades and the Fajr forces in the area to the south of Tripoli International Airport, where the fighting began early this morning. It is not clear who now holds the airport itself.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has suspended all flights to Tripoli for the next three days and will continue to monitor the situation. It has said it will shortly designate a new destination for flights scheduled to arrive in the capital for the next two days.
Flights from Tunisia, Dubai, Amman and Cairo which were headed to Tripoli earlier today have been rerouted to Misrata. All scheduled flights from Paris and Rome have been cancelled.
With Benghazi’s Benina airport likewise closed because of clashes there, Misrata airport remains the only international airport with flights in and out of the country. But although Tunisair, Turkish Airlines and Royal Jordanian operate there, they have taken no decision as yet to reroute Tripoli flights there.
Air Malta, Alitalia and British Airways cannot do so, because Misrata is not certified for EU-based airlines.
For its part, Afriqiya are reported to be looking at moving operations there.
Most airlines are awaiting an announcement on Wednesday on flights in and out of Tripoli and will evaluate the situation.
“If nothing drastic happens then I expect the airport will reopen and we’ll restart flights on Thursday, said one European airline official.
Passengers on flights in and out of Tripoli for the next three days are being advised to contact the airline they are booked on.