Video: Tripoli airport attack guts Airbus

This article is more than 12 months old

These scenes of an Airbus A330 burning and then exploding on Sunday show the extent of the devastation in the fight for control at Tripoli Airport in Libya. 

In a video shared on the Libyan Spotter: Aviation Photography's Facebook page, you can see the fire at the back of the plane, a Libyan-owned Afriqiyah Airway Airbus A330-200.

As the fire spreads, there is an explosion, which blows up the middle of the plane. 

And the fire consumes the whole plane. You can see the video here.

The plane was one of many damaged when Islamist-led militiamen stepped up their assault on Sunday on Libya’s main airport, two days after the collapse of a truce with rival ex-rebels who control the facility, a security official said.

The renewed fighting, which killed at least five civilians, was condemned by the European Union, which urged restraint and dialogue.

A coalition of militias led by Islamist fighters launched  the assault on Tripoli international airport, with clashes later spreading along the road to the capital.

By Sunday evening, fighting had subsided around the airport, security official Al-Jilani al-Dahesh told AFP, but clashes continued in the western suburbs of the capital, witnesses said.

“The airport was attacked this morning with mortar rounds, rockets and tank fire,” Al-Dahesh told AFP.

Most intense bombardment

“It was the most intense bombardment so far,” since a week-old battle for control of the airport erupted on July 13.

Dahesh said the militia which controls the airport, based in Zintan, southwest of the capital, and seen by Islamists as the armed wing of liberals within the government, responded with heavy fire.

Islamist militias have been joined by other armed groups, including the powerful Misrata Brigades which played a key role in the 2011 UN-backed revolt that toppled and killed strongman Muammar Gaddafi​

The fighting has halted all flights and caused extensive damage to planes and airport infrastructure, with aviation officials saying Tripoli airport could be closed for months.

Philippines orders evacuation

Meanwhile the Philippine government announced on Sunday it is enforcing mandatory evacuation of Filipinos in Libya in response to the “extremely unstable” political and security situation there, reported Xinhua.

Some 13,000 Filipinos will be evacuated as soon as possible, according to the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs. 

Sources: AFP, Xinhua, Facebook/Libyan Spotter: Aviation Photography