Tripoli airport returned to government

June 5, 2012 at 8:27 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, June 5 (UPI) -- Brigades from Zintan, Libya, seized control of the Tripoli airport from militias and handed the facility back to the government, officials said.

The Zintan fighters took control of the Tripoli International Airport Monday from militia fighters from Tarhouna, who had taken control of the facility earlier in the day, The Tripoli Post reported Tuesday.

Three members of the Tarhouna forces were wounded in an exchange of gunfire and others surrendered following negotiations, officials said. Zintan forces confiscated 14 military vehicles and several machine guns.

"We are always ready and at any moment to defend the airport and the whole of Libya when we are called upon," a fighter from Zintan said.

Sources at the airport told The Tripoli Post negotiations began after the Zintan forces had control of the facility.

The Tarhouna militia group stormed the airport Monday, demanding the release of a leader the group said disappeared several days earlier in Tripoli.

The Post said it was the second time in less than six weeks that Zintan military forces secured the facility and returned it to Libyan authorities.

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