Sunday, July 13, 2014

Libya Updates ( July 13 - 14 , 2014 ) -- Fierce fighting at Libya's international Airport halts flights as rival Militias battle for control there ( Zintan Militai in control of Airport battling various Islamist Brigades ! Run of gun on full display ........

International Airport about 1/2 an hour ago. Heavy fighting blasted one of the airplanes in 's capital

Libya Herald...

“Dozens” of rockets fired at Tripoli Airport

By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 14 July 2014:
Rockets have again struck Tripoli International Airport just 32 hours after similar missile attacks closed the airport yesterday.
A source at the airport told the Libya Herald this evening that the assault was still going on. He said that the rockets were being fired from Qasr Ben Ghashir just to the north of the airport and had threatened the few remaining aircraft there. He could not say, however, who had launched the attack.
Zintani forces remained firmly in control of the airport following yesterday’s clashes but the source believed that Misratan-led militias may have led the attack.
Photos on social media have shown one passenger jet, allegedly hit by a rocket, wreathed in flames and billowing black smoke. The first reports of the rocket assault emerged at around 9 pm at which point a series of muffled explosions could be heard in Tripoli centre, just over 25 kilometres away from the airport.
The Ministry of Interior has asked residents yesterday to stay away from the clashes taking place around Tripoli International Airport and on the road between the airport and Qasr Ben Ghashir, which it had earlier claimed to control.

$250 million Afriqiyah Airways plane “written off” in Tripoli Airport fighting

Libya Herald Reporters.
A picture believed to show the "written off" A330, whose tail section was also riddled.(Picture: social media)
A picture believed to show the “written off” A330, whose tail section was also reportedly riddled with bullets.(Photo: social media)
Tripoli, 13 July 2014:
There were unconfirmed reports this evening that two Afriqiyah Airways planes were hit in the fighting at Tripoli International Airport and that one of them, a $250 million Airbus A330 has been damaged beyond repair.
A respected and normally reliable source on social media claimed tonight that a new Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330, which was parked up on the apron, was hit in the underbelly, as fighting raged around the airport. The tail section has also sustained multiple bullet hits. Engineers are apparently saying that the damage seems so severe, the aircraft may have to be written off.
An A320 from the same airline is also said to have  been damaged, though less severely.
In addition, there were reports, that cannot yet be verified, that all airspace in Western Libya, including that over Misrata, has been closed by Air Traffic Controllers in Malta until Wednesday and that, as a result,  the only functioning main airport in the country is now that at Labraq, near Beida. Earlier today it was announced that some flights had been rerouted to Misrata.
For a period this March, after rockets were fired at Tripoli airport, Afriqiyah Airways flew all its aircraft for overnight parking at Misrata.

Brega blockaders say demands must be met before terminal re-opens

By Naom Alkhosi.
Tripoli, 13 July 2014:
The group of Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG) who have been blockading Brega oil terminal for the past three days have said their demands must be satisfied before the blockade is lifted.  They primarily concern pay and the reinstatement of the former commander of the PFG
The protestors are specifically demanding that Idris Buhamada be reinstated as commander of the PFG.  He was replaced by Ali Al-Ahrash as part of a deal with Ibrahim Jadhran to settle the blockade of the terminals at Hariga, Zueitina, Sidra and Ras Lanuf. However, Buhamada has refused to accept his replacement and the guards at Brega remain loyal to him. They claim that the decision to replace him had been reversed and must now be enacted.
The other demand revolves around money.  Protestors are demanding the salaries of 600 guards who they say were never paid for the month of May 2013 while under the command of Buhamada. Furthermore, they are demanding the salaries of guards contracted since that May, specifically for the months of June through October 2013.
They also claim that the companies contracted to provide cleaning, food service and construction for the PFG were never paid.  They are demanding the obligations of those contracts be fulfilled.
Finally, the protestors want the establishment of a Petroleum Institute in Brega.

Al Jazeera.....

Heavy fighting kills five in Libya's Benghazi

Nine wounded after heavy fighting between security forces and rival militias erupted overnight.

Last updated: 14 Jul 2014 11:55
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Tensions between security forces and independent former rebel groups have often turned violent [Reuters]
At least five people have been killed and nine wounded in the Libyan city of Benghazi after heavy fighting between security forces and rival militias.
The clashes erupted late on Sunday, when irregular forces loyal to renegade former general Khalifa Haftar bombarded militia bases as part of his campaign to oust armed groups, he describes as terrorists, from Benghazi, hospital and security sources said.
Special forces also clashed with militia fighters in the city, the Reuters news agency reported.
Three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has slipped deep into chaos with its weak government and new army unable to control brigades of former rebel fighters and militias who often battle over political and economic power.
The violence comes shortly after heavy fighting between rival militias vying for control of Libya's main airport in Tripoli, which left at least seven people dead and halted all flights.
The clashes were the worst in the city since 40 people were killed in clashes between militias and armed residents in November.
A further 36 people were wounded in Sunday's clashes, which led to the UN temporarily relocate some of its international staff out of Libya.
The battle is believed to have started when militias made up of fighters from the city of Misrata tried to oust a rival faction from Zintan, which controlled the airport.

Fierce fighting halts flights into Libyan capital

Airplanes are seen at the airport in Tripoli March 21, 2014. (Reuters)
Fierce fighting erupted around the Libyan capital's international airport on Sunday as the anti-Islamist militia that control it came under attack, airport officials said.

“Rockets struck inside the airport perimeter around 6 am (0400 GMT)” interrupting flights, an official said.

“Clashes followed between the Zintan militia who control the airport and rivals who want to drive them out,” the official added.

The former rebel militia from Zintan, a hill town southwest of the capital, are the main supporters of liberals trying to resist attempts by powerful Islamists bidding for a power in the vacuum left by the 2011 ouster of veteran dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
The exchanges with heavy weapons that rival armed group retain from the NATO-backed uprising were heard in the city centre, 25 kilometres (15 miles) away, AFP correspondents reported.

They came just hours after the United States warned that conflict in Libya could become "widespread," after electoral officials acknowledged that fraud had clouded a June 25 vote for a new parliament that President Barack Obama had hailed as a "milestone" on the road to democracy.

"The United States is deeply concerned by the ongoing violence in Libya and dangerous posturing that could lead to widespread conflict there," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

"We affirm our support for Libya's democratic transition and urge the seating of the new Council of Representatives as soon as possible," she added.

On Thursday, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya announced it was pulling out dozens of staff because of security concerns.

Libya Herald ......

“Libya Dawn” Islamist movement calls on liberal Qaaqaa and Sawaiq brigades to leave Tripoli

By Moutaz Ali
Tripoli, 13 July 2014:
A new military movement, calling itself, “The Force of Security and Settlement in Libya”, is demanding that the liberal Qaaqaa and Sawaiq brigades leave Tripoli immediately. The operation, also known as “Fajr (Dawn) Libya”, is specifically aimed at the removal of the  Qaaqaa and Sawaiq brigades from the capital city.
The Islamist Dawn movement considers the liberal Qaaqaa and Sawaiq brigades as illegitimate brigades, but in reality they are recognized brigades – part of the Libyan Army.
The media office of “Fajr Libya” has published an official letter calling on all members of the two brigades to leave their respective camps. Otherwise, “Fajr Libya” threatened, they will lose their civil rights and will be considered enemies of the 17 February Revolution.
On the other hand, the Qaaqaa and Sawaiq brigades have said that they do support the government and that they are in favor of transferring the parliament to Benghazi. They in turn have countered by accusing the other parties of trying to control the capital and of sabotaging the democratic process in Libya.
In light of the demands issued by “Fajr Libya”, the Qaaqaa and Sawaiq brigades have sent out an alert calling on their members to report to camps.
The Islamist Libyan Revolutionaries Operations Room (LROR), for their part, put out an urgent call to all its members to report to the 27 April barracks (near Zawia city) at 9 pm last night, indicating that the LROR is taking part in this Dawn movement.

Violent clashes around Tripoli International Airport

By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Smoke billows from the car park at Tripoli Airport (Photo: Social Media)
Smoke billows from the car park at Tripoli Airport (Photo: Social Media)
Tripoli, 13 July 2014:
Fighting has erupted with grad rockets fired in and around Tripoli Airport as a coalition of Islamist militias has attempted to wrest control of the premises from Zintani militias stationed there.
A worker at Tripoli Airport told the Libya Herald that a number of missiles have hit the car park and  passengers had been trapped in the terminal since fighting broke out in the early hours of this morning. He said roughly thirty aircraft were on the ground and that all incoming air traffic had been diverted. Afriqiyah Airlines has reported that its incoming flights to Tripoli have been rerouted to Misrata.
While exact details of the opening movements of the clashes remain unclear it appears that a number of Islamist brigades including Central Libya Shield, the Marsa Misratan Brigade, Hateen, the 27th Mobile Infantry and the Libyan Revolutionaries Operation Room attempted to surround the airport, attacking from all sides.
The patchwork force has declared itself as the Fajr or Dawn Operation and has pledged to rid the capital of all “illegal” brigades. Its principal targets are the liberal leaning Zintani brigades of Qaqaa and Sawaiq which hold the airport and airport road.
All forces involved in the ongoing clashes are recognised by the state and are nominally under its control.
At the moment, reports have emerged that Zintani forces have managed to rebuff the attack and fighting has spread to the outskirts of the city particularly to the south west. The sounds of explosions can be heard across Tripoli and plumes of smoke can be seen rising.
In the early hours of the morning a car bomb exploded at the apartment blocks on the capital’s airport road. It is not known how the explosion was linked to this morning’s clashes.

Rockets hit Benina Airport’s newly refurbished international terminal

Aimen Amzein.
Damage at the newly refurbished departure lounge (Photo: Social Media)
Damage at the newly refurbished departure lounge (Photo: Social Media)
Benghazi, 12 July 2014:
Four rockets which struck Benina Airport yesterday have destroyed its newly refurbished international departures lounge.
The missile strike did not cause any injuries and, as yet, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The shells caused some structural damage and destroyed a new restaurant and waiting area. These facilities had only recently been completed. There have also been reports of damage to the airport’s car park and several cars.
Benina remains closed to civilian air traffic due to security concerns over clashes around the nearby  Saiqa Special Forces base which has regularly been targeted by armed groups affiliated with Ansar Al-Sharia. The airport is also the base of the airforce’s helicopter unit that is supporting the Operation Dignity assault against Ansar Al-Sharia and other militias.

Brega oil terminal blockaded by Petroleum Facilities Guards

By Callum Paton.
Tripoli, 12 July 2014:
Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG) have blockaded Brega oil terminal, in a blow to national oil production following a recent run of good news . . .

Cabinet agrees to temporarily re-locate Foreign Ministry

By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 10 July 2014:
The government has decided to move the Foreign Ministry from its current headquarters in Tripoli because staff . . .

Second son of Gen. Suleiman Obeidi kidnapped

By Noora Ibrahim and Moutaz Ahmed.
Benghazi, 10 July 2014:
Another son of Major General Suleiman Obeidi, who was one of the first . . .