Libya closes eastern lifeline airport for security reasons

Reuters , Saturday 1 Nov 2014

Clashes between the Libyan army and Islamist militias ( Photo: Reuters)

Rocket fire has forced the closure of Labraq airport, the main gateway into Libya's government-held east, the airport director said on Saturday.

Gunmen have repeatedly fired Grad rockets into Labraq airport, east of Benghazi, and all flights have been suspended for security reasons, director Abu Bakr al-Abaidi told Reuters.

Oil-producing Libya has descended into chaos with two governments and two parliaments vying for legitimacy three years after the ousting of strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

An armed faction mainly from Misrata seized Tripoli in August, setting up its own prime minister and parliament and forcing the old government to move to the east where the elected parliament is also based.

Benghazi's airport has been shut since May and the closure of Labraq leaves the east to rely on the airport in Tobruk where the House of Representatives has found shelter. Roads in eastern Libya are dangerous. 

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