By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 24 August 2014:
Tripoli International Airport terminal has been seriously damaged by a fire which appears to have . . .[restrict]broken out after its capture yesterday by Misratan forces from Operation Dawn.
A four-minute video posted on social media shows dozens of victorious fighters milling around in front of the terminal, it would seem shortly after the area had been taken. Though the cameraman does not enter the building, at one point he shows the “Departure” entrance, out of which half a dozen militiamen a strolling with their weapons. Beneath the covered concourse at the front of the terminal several camouflaged technicals are moving or parked up. There was no sign of any fire inside the building.
It is not clear what started the subsequent blaze which would seem to have severely damaged terminal. Fighting had continued beyond the airport after its was overrun by Dawn forces. It may have been hit by incoming Zintani fire or bobby-trapped before they retreated. There is also speculation that the fire was set deliberately after the battle had ended. The thinking may have been that if the airport were destroyed, there would be no strategic asset for the Zintanis to try and retake. They had held it since the revolution. Tripoli’s sole airport equipped for civilian flights is now at Mitiga.
There is still not little idea of the number of casualties, though they are said to have been high on both sides. The triumphant video shows no dead or wounded, only one still-armed fighter with a bandaged left forearm and a Red Crescent ambulance moving slowing in front of the terminal. By one estimate, throughout Libya so far this month there have been over 400 violent deaths bringing the total for the year to around 1,200. [/restrict]