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Tripoli Forces Retake Former International Airport - Reports

© REUTERSTripoli, Libya
Tripoli, Libya - Sputnik International
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Earlier, a source close to Marshal Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) said that LNA captured the international airport in Tripoli.

Forces loyal to Tripoli government have recaptured the former Libyan international airport in the south of the city, Fathi Ali Bashagha told the Tripoli-based interior minister Libya al-Ahrar TV.

Fighters under the UN backed government discuss their plan while manning the front lines during clashes in southern Tripoli - Sputnik International
Libyan National Army Commander Orders Offensive on Tripoli - Reports
Ahmed Mismari, the spokesman of the Libyan National Army, however, later told Sputnik that the LNA denied claims that the rival Government of National Accord had retaken the former international airport, amid Haftar’s offensive on the GNA-controlled city.

"As for the Tripoli airport, we have not received any confirmation from the operations headquarters about GNA groups regaining control over the international airport of Tripoli. We deny this information," Mismari said.

The LNA spokesman also dismissed media reports about specific time frames of the Tripoli offensive.

Meanwhile, the Flight Radar 24 real-time flight information service showed, in the early hours of Saturday, that there were a number of scheduled flights to and from Tripoli International Airport despite the escalation of tensions in the area amid the offensive.

As of 01:30 GMT on Saturday, six flights of Libyan Airlines are scheduled to land in the Tripoli International Airport later in the day and three arrivals of the same airline’s planes are scheduled for Sunday, according to Flight Radar 24.

Soldiers from the Libyan National Army get ready to enter Rafallah al-sahati Islamic Militia Brigades compound, one of the compound buildings can be seen behind the wall, in Benghazi, Libya, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012. - Sputnik International
Pro-Haftar Forces Regain Control Over Checkpoint West of Tripoli - Source
Notably, two flights performed by the Afriqiyah Airways have been diverted to Mitiga International Airport, located to the east of Tripoli.

Moreover, there are six planned departures of the Libyan Airlines aircraft and three flights of Afriqiyah Airways scheduled to depart from the airport on Saturday. On Sunday, five Libyan Airlines departures are scheduled.

Earlier on Friday, forces supporting the Government of National Accord (GNA) announced that they were able to stop the offensive of the Libyan National Army led by Haftar on Tripoli.

Previously, the GNA declared a general military alert after Haftar-led eastern forces announced they were moving to western parts of the country. In the meantime, according to Sputnik source, Sarraj, remains in Tripoli despite the LNA offensive.

READ MORE: Saudi King Meets With Head of Libyan National Army Haftar — Reports

As a result of a years-long civil conflict that erupted following a rebellion and murder of the ex-head of state Muammar Gaddafi, there is no single central government in Libya, and the country's eastern and western parts are controlled by separate powers. The Tobruk-based parliament, elected in 2014 and backed by the LNA, governs the east of Libya, while the GNA, established in 2015, controls Libya's western parts from Tripoli.

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