Some air traffic has resumed at Tripoli airport, officials say, as Libyan authorities have regained control of the Tripoli International Aiprot a day after it was seized and shut down by a militia group.
An Austrian Airlines flight and empty Qatar Airways plane reportedly took off from the airport on Tuesday, according to the BBC.
Members of the al-Awfea brigade seized the runway on June 4, surrounding planes and grounding all flights after their leader’s apparent arrest, reports said.
They had hoped to pressure the government into releasing Abu Ajila al-Habshi, their leader.
The BBC reported that the group, from the town of Tahrouna in Western Libya, backed down on Monday after negotiating with authorities, while state television says the group’s leader was in fact kidnapped by other militiamen, not security forces.
Tripoli’s security commission said earlier that it had nothing to do with “the disappearance and abduction” of Habshi, promising to track down those responsible.
“The airport is operational,” Mohammed al-Harizi, spokesman of the ruling National Transitional Council, told AFP news agency.
But several airlines, including British Airways, Emirates and Tunisair, which operate flights into Tripoli are wary, telling Reuters that they will not resume services right away.
The ruling NTC is still struggling to fully integrate many Libyans who fought forces loyal to Gadhafi before he was ousted and killed in October last year.
The ministries of defense and interior have integrated many of them into their ranks but some are still a law unto themselves.