Last updated: 10 December, 2011

Two hurt in gunfight near Tripoli airport

A gunfight erupted near Tripoli international airport in which two people were wounded on Saturday, a Libyan army official and a former rebel told AFP.

Army official Samy Kamuka said the firefight erupted when a group of former rebels of the Zintan brigade clashed with former rebels from Tripoli.

But a fighter from the Zintan brigade said it was members of the national army who attacked his unit near the airport.

“There were clashes between thwars (revolutionaries) from Tripoli and thwars from Zintan (brigade) to take control of the airport,” Kamuka, who works in the administration department, told AFP.

“The clashes were next to the airport but not in the airport. According to our information, two are wounded,” he said.

The airport is currently under the control of the Zintan brigade whose members are holding toppled leader Moamer Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam after having captured him last month.

A member of the Zintan brigade, Abu Bakr al-Ahrash, told an AFP reporter near the airport that “three cars from the national army arrived today at the checkpoint usually manned by Zintan thwars” on the road to the facility.

“They confiscated two pick-up trucks loaded with anti-aircraft guns. They tried to take control of the checkpoint. They wounded two of our fighters and arrested two others,” he said.

“A commander from the Zintan brigade is talking to the defence minister to obtain information over the freeing of our two fighters,” he said.

Defence Minister Osama Juili was previously chief of the Zintan brigade.

The firefight came as Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council held its first conference on national reconciliation in Tripoli on Saturday.