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Air traffic strikes suspend flights in Libya

Libyan air traffic controllers have given different reasons for the strike (© 2009 AFP)

Flights to and from Libya’s international airports in Tripoli and Benghazi were suspended on Sunday due to a strike by air traffic controllers, aviation sources said.

The decision to strike was made at about 10 GMT without prior warning to airlines, the sources added, forcing a Tunisair flight to remain grounded at Benina airport in the eastern city of Benghazi.

A Qatar Airways flight headed for Benghazi was redirected to Alexandria airport in Egypt.

Libyan air traffic controllers have given different reasons for the strike, some saying it is due to salary disputes, others saying it is because of the security situation.

Air traffic at Benghazi reopened on Friday after a temporary suspension for what officials said were security reasons, three days after an attack on the US consulate in the city in which four Americans, including the ambassador, died.

A military source would only say unspecified “threats” were behind the suspension.

An airport source said no official reason had been given for the closure of Benina airport on Thursday to Friday, but speculated: “The threat of the possible presence of surface-to-air missiles could be behind the decision.”

After the conflict that ousted Kadhafi, Western nations involved in a NATO enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya reported the disappearance of thousands of surface-to-air missiles capable of being fired from portable launchers.

Signature : TRIPOLI (AFP)

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