What’s happening in Libya? People try to flee the country; fifteen Egyptian border guards killed

A damaged aircraft is pictured after a shelling at Tripoli International Airport, Libya, July 15, 2014. REUTERS/Hani Amara

After clashes, rush after some Tripoli flights resume

(Reuters) – Flights have resumed from two small airports in Libya triggering a rush of Libyans and expatriates trying to leave the country on Saturday after fighting closed the main international airport a week earlier.

Local carriers have resumed flights to neighboring countries from Tripoli’s Mitiga airport, which is mainly used by the military and oil firms, and another airport 210 km (130 miles) to the west in Misrata.

Flights out of Libya almost completely halted from Sunday when rival militias turned Tripoli International Airport into a battlefield with rockets hitting the runway, at least 20 planes and the main terminal building. A few airlines continued to fly from tiny airports in the east.

Tripoli International Airport remained closed on Saturday, but flights took off from Mitiga bound for Egypt, Jordan and Tunis.

More than hundred people packed the departure hall, trying to check in or to buy a ticket that could be bought on the spot in cash, airport officials and residents said.

Gunmen kill 15 Egyptian border guards near Libya – officials

(Reuters) – Smugglers armed with guns and rocket-propelled grenades killed 15 Egyptian military border guards near the frontier with Libya on Saturday, security officials said, highlighting a growing security challenge for authorities who believe Islamist militants move weapons across the area.

The attack took place in Wadi al-Gadid governorate, which borders both Sudan and Libya. Two smugglers were killed in clashes with the guards.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has repeatedly expressed concerns that militants who have capitalized on the chaos in Libya and set up operations along the border pose a threat to the Cairo government.

Security officials say militants based in camps over the Libyan border pay smugglers to transport weapons, including machineguns, to comrades in Egypt, which is facing an Islamist insurgency based in the Sinai Peninsula near Israel.

Tribal smugglers told Reuters they charge up to one million Egyptian pounds ($140,000) to move weapons in four-by-four vehicles along desert routes…

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