Between one and seven civilians were allegedly injured because of LNA artillery shelling on Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli.
Alwasat quoted the spokesman for the ambulance and emergency service who said one civilian was injured.
218TV reported: “Mitiga airport wass shelled with more than five rocket-propelled grenades on Sunday, with conflicting reports of injuries among Libyan pilgrims returning from the Holy Land, while media sources confirmed damage to a Libyan Airlines Airbus.”
Al Motawaset said: “Al-Arabiya news channel revealed a number of Libyan pilgrims coming from Saudi Arabia were injured after shells landed on Mitiga airport in Tripoli.”
The Libya Observer wrote: “Airport sources said the pilgrims were leaving the plane around 2:00 a.m. when the rockets started falling a few meters away from their plane, causing panic among the pilgrims and wounding a number of them.”
Libya Alahrar TV said that “Haftar militants targeted Mitiga civilian airport with rocket-propelled grenades on Saturday night, wounding four civilians, including three pilgrims, one of whom was a woman whose plane had arrived at the airport from Saudi Arabia at the moment of the targeting.”
The Libya Herald reported: “The internationally-recognized Libyan government led by Faiez Serraj and the United Nations condemned Saturday’s attack on Mitiga airport which led to civilian casualties. The attack was attributed to the Khalifa Hafter forces attacking Tripoli.
There was some minor damage to infrastructure, parked cars and shrapnel damage to one aircraft. The Serraj Health Ministry reported four civilian injuries, including 3 pilgrim passengers (a woman and two men) and another civilian were taken to Mitiga and Central Tripoli hospitals, while another 30 pilgrims who had fainted and experienced high rates of blood pressure and diabetes as a result of the panic – were also admitted to hospitals.”
According to Reuters, “nearby Mitiga hospital received one small girl who had been wounded, a doctor there told Reuters.”
Afrigate News accused local media of fabricating news that the LNA was responsible and said the shelling was conducted by a local militia. Libya Akhbar and Al Motawaset also accused the Buqra militia.
UNSMIL sent a team to assess the situation and concluded: “Following another attack today, 01 September, on Mitiga airport UNSMIL dispatched an assessment mission to the airport. The mission was able to confirm that four projectiles struck the civilian parts of the airport; three projectiles landed in the parking lot and one hit the runway resulting in damage to an airplane that had carried dozens of pilgrims returning from the Hajj. At least two crew members were injured while rushing out of the plane.”
UNSMIL later quoted the UN special representative for Libya, Ghassan Salamé, saying that seven civilians were injured.
A UN report published in December 2019 said there were various options of responsibility: “Although no armed group has yet taken responsibility for this attack, it is certain that HAF units were not responsible for this attack, as they had no ground forces anywhere near the area of the firing point.
There were some claims from a confidential source that the Tajura-based GNA-AF 33rd Brigade (a.k.a. Rabhat al-Durua’) was responsible for the attack as they are involved in an internal-GNA-AF conflict with the Special Deterrence Force (SDF) who control the prison at the airport in which 33rd Brigade individuals are detained. Notwithstanding this claim though, the “banana project” area has also recently being used as a staging area for the 2nd Brigade, the Nawasi battalion, the Somoud brigade and battalion 301. Elements of the now dispersed Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade (TRB) may also have transited this area, and as they have recently had a member imprisoned by the SDF, they too would have a motive for the attack.
An alternative claim is that perpetrators were from a mixed group of ex-regime supporters, Haftar supporters and criminals from Ghararaat. They are known to have previously attacked the airport in 2017/2018 and they have serious issues with the SDF.”
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (26) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the Mitiga International Airport (مطار معيتيقة), for which the generic coordinates are: 32.895041, 13.2785. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.