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Libya strongman vows to capture capital as main airport reopens


Mitiga international airport, the only functioning airport in Libya’s capital Tripoli, resumed flight operations on Thursday after more than 3 months break, and is expected be fully operational by the end of this month.

The airport had been shut since September 1 as it has been repeatedly targeted by shelling and air strikes blamed on forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, who have been trying to take control of the city since April.

Meanwhile, rebel leader Khalifa Haftar has announced a new offensive to retake the Libyan capital after the initial setback that led to the closure of the airport.

Following the closure of the airport, all flights to Tripoli were diverted to the coastal city of Misrata located some 200 kilometers away. Workers are still carrying out maintenance work inside the main departure terminal and car park.

After the destruction of Tripoli International Airport in 2014 in a civil war between armed groups vying for power, Mitiga became the city’s only airport, running domestic and international flights.

A new departure terminal will be completed during the first quarter of the new year. United Nations agencies reported at the time that the offensive had led to mass destruction of infrastructure and resulted in the loss of lives.

All efforts to mediate between Haftar and the UN recognized body led by Fayez Al Sarraj has proven futile.

The Gulf nations are seen as part of those whose involvement is hampering a deal. Russia, France, Italy and the united States are all seen as key players in the impasse.

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