Dozens killed in week-long battle for Libya airport
Posted on Jul 21 2014 | IANS
Tripoli, July 21 : Forty-seven people have been killed, most of them civilians, and 120 others wounded in a week of fighting between two Libyan militia groups seeking to control the Tripoli International Airport, Libya's health ministry reported Monday.
Most of the dead were residents of Qasr Ben Ghashir neighbourhood near the airport, who died when their homes were hit in the crossfire, and only two of the fatal victims were insurgents, the ministry said on its website.
The Tripoli International Airport has been closed since last week, when fighting broke out between Islamic militias from Misrata, 200 km east of Tripoli, and Zintan, 170 km west of Tripoli, which took over the facilities after the ouster of long-time strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
The battle over the airport raised concern among the international community and led the UN to withdraw its mission in Libya, while some countries like the Philippines evacuated 13,000 of its citizens from the country.
In Manila, the Philippine foreign ministry Monday reported that one of its nationals was decapitated in Libya July 15 after he was abducted by militias along with a Pakistani and a Libyan in the northeastern city of Benghazi.
The Libyan transitional authorities have failed to dismantle or disarm the rebel groups that operate in the country, three years after the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011.