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Libya militias stop prime minister from flying to eastern region

Militias have destroyed Tripoli's main airport and are blocking access to the other
With Libya's main airport has been destroyed in recent fighting (AA)

Libya's caretaker prime minister Abdullah al-Thinni was prevented late on Thursday from travelling to the eastern city of Tobruk from Tripoli.

Thinni attempted to board a flight at Mitiga International Airport in the Libyan capital Tripoli with several cabinet ministers but the militia which controls the airport, stopped the group from travelling, the government said in a statement.

The statement described the event as a "violation" of the state's legitimacy.

Thinni was due to attend a series of meetings in Libya's eastern region which has seen fierce clashes between rival militias, and borne the brunt rogue General Khalifa Haftar campaign to root out Islamist-inspired militias, namely Ansar al-Sharia.

The eastern capital Benghazi has seen the worst of the violence. Early on Friday, four policemen including an officer were gunned down in their car by unknown assailants.

A fifth policeman was also wounded in the attack, the Interior Ministry said.

Libya in general, and Benghazi in particular, has been the scene of mounting crime and militancy since the 2011 ouster and death of longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Tripoli’s larger international airport has seen violent clashes between rival militias break out in recent weeks. Most of the planes and much of the airport infrastructure have been destroyed in the fighting.

Mitiga, as the second largest airport in Tripoli, has since acquires special importance. 

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