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Mitiga airport reopens after shelling, LNA targets GNA patrol in Misrata - Daily News Egypt

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Mitiga airport reopens after shelling, LNA targets GNA patrol in Misrata

The previously kidnapped Russian tanker crew detained in Libya reportedly released

Libya’s Mitiga airport re-opened to air traffic on Saturday night after it was halted following several shellings, the Libya Airport Authority said in a statement on its Facebook page.

Mitiga is the only working airport in the Libyan capital Tripoli, and the bombing of the international airport is not the first of its kind. It is subject to repeated shelling as a result of clashes between the  Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Government of National Accord (GNA).

Although Tripoli has been center of clashes between LNA and GNA, the western city of Misrata has also take its share in the violence.

The LNA said, in a statement on its Facebook page, that its air forces have targeted a GNA patrol which was leaving South Misrata.

This is the second time that the LNA targets Misrata since 27 July, when it announced that it expanded the onsluaght to the western city after its forces targeted GNA-affilated military sites.

The rivalry over Tripoli affected the citizens causing tragic loss of human lives which lead the UN envoy Ghassan Salamé to present briefing criticizing living conditions in Libya.

In an escalation against Salamé, the GNA halted air traffic at The Zuwarah airport in the west of the country, which is used by the UN mission in Libya on Sunday in a response to the accusation that it forces uses the airport for military purposes, Saudi based Al Arabiya channel reported.

The GNA’s Ministry of Transport said on Saturday that it suspended flights in the Zuwarah airport and requested Salamé to use Tripoli airport instead.

However, the Libya Observer, a Tripoli-based online news source, reported that the GNA’s Ministry of Transport requested Salamé to visit Mitiga International Airport to verify that it is only used for civilian purposes.

The website added that the ministry said it welcomes Salamé and his deputy Stephanie Williams to the airport, to see for themselves that the airport is not being used for military purposes, as mentioned in Salame’s briefing for the UN.

In a different context, a Russian tanker crew held by the Libyan Coast Guard in June 2016 was reportedly released after three years of detention, Russian coordinator of the International Transport Workers’ Federation Sergey Fishov told Russian based Sputnik news website.

On Friday Fishov said that he had received a call from an African diplomat informing him that only two out of the three Russian sailors, the captain and assistant captain,  were set free.

Fishov indicated that he is awaiting official confirmation of this information.

The Libyan Coast Guard detained in June 2016 the tanker “Timitron”, near the port of the Libyan city of  Azzawia with five Ukraine citizens and three Russians, in addition to one Greek on suspicion of smuggling oil out of Libya.

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