Libya Retakes Tripoli Airport

Disgruntled militiamen stormed site with heavy machine guns
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 4, 2012 6:21 PM CDT
A former Libyan rebel fighter fires his machine gun late last year.   (AP Photo/Manu Brado)

(Newser) – Libya's government has retaken control of the country's main airport from disgruntled militiamen who stormed the Tripoli site with heavy machine guns and armored vehicles today, Libya's interim leader said. In an interview with the Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera, the head of the country's National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, said the airport was attacked and held for several hours because it is "a strategic facility," vowing it would not fall out of government control again.

"The attack on the airport is dangerous, but we dealt with it as a government, military and revolutionaries with intelligence," he said. He declined to explain how the airport was overrun with such ease, saying only that "we have to be peaceful and diplomatic" about how to handle the country's various problems. The militiamen from the city of Tarhouna had stormed the airport, forcing airport authorities to divert flights. The militiamen were angry over arrest yesterday of their commander, Abu Oleija al-Habishi.

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