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IS claim attack on Libyan airport, kill 3 Open in fullscreen

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IS claim attack on Libyan airport, kill 3

Libya Dawn captured Tripoli's Mitiga airport last year [Anadolu].

Date of publication: 18 September, 2015

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Mitiga airport in Tripoli was attacked by militants on Friday morning, leaving three people dead.
Militants attacked Tripoli's airport on Friday and killed three security personnel, a Libyan official said, in an assault claimed by the Islamic State group (IS, formerly ISIS).

"An armed group carried out an attack this morning on the prison located on the Mitiga air base, to try to free the detainees," the airport security official said.

"First there was an explosion... and then a clash with automatic weapons," he said, adding that at least eight attackers died.

An AFP journalist who was at the airport heard a blast followed by gunfire.

IS later claimed the attack on Twitter.

Flights were unaffected by the incident at what is the only airport still functioning in the militia-held city.

Mitiga is a military airfield used for civilian traffic after Tripoli's international airport was seriously damaged last year in fighting for control of the capital.

Islamist extremists have exploited the turmoil in Libya since the fall of veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 to establish a foothold in the energy-rich North African country.

IS militants in June took over the coastal city of Sirte, 450 kilometres (280 miles) to the east of Tripoli.

Over the past few months, they have claimed several attacks in the Libyan capital, mostly against embassies.

Separately, the UN envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, said that lawmakers from Libya's internationally-recongised parliament have agreed to return to peace talks after resolving an internal dispute. 

Libya has two rival parliaments, with the internationally-recognised parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk, and the rival General National Congress (GNC) holding sway in the capital Tripoli, which is controlled by the Libya Dawn coalition. 

The anticipated resumption of talks revives hope that a deal can be made, with Leon's plans calling for an accord that will lead to the formation of a national unity government by Sunday, in time for the UN General Assembly in New York which continues through October 6. 

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