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Fighting at Tripoli Airport Forces Libya Flight Cancelations

Image: Airplanes are seen at the airport in Tripoli
Airplanes are seen at the airport in Tripoli March 21, 2014. With a bomb on the runway, pets boarding planes and passengers jetting off without visas, Tripoli International Airport typifies the chaos that has gripped Libya since the 2011 ouster of Muammar Gaddafi. Western powers and Libya's neighbours worry the capital city's airport could be a gateway for illegal immigrants, including militant Islamists, from Africa and conflict zones such as Syria. Picture taken March 21, 2014. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny (LIBYA - Tags: TRANSPORT CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW POLITICS)ISMAIL ZITOUNY / Reuters

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TRIPOLI - Heavy fighting between militias with anti-aircraft guns and rocket propelled grenades broke out near the airport of the Libyan capital Tripoli on Sunday, residents and witnesses said. Explosions could be heard on the airport road and other parts of Tripoli though it was not immediately clear who was fighting whom. British Airways and Turkish Airways canceled their flights, while thick smoke could be seen near the airport.

Reports on social media said several rockets had hit the airport perimeter. The airport area, some 18 miles south of Tripoli, has been controlled by militia fighters from Zintan in northwestern Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 though other groups have challenged them. Libya's nascent army and police are no match for militias battle-hardened from the eight-month 2011 uprising.

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- Reuters

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