The Benghazi Airport was closed overnight and remained closed for much of the day because of heavy anti-aircraft fire around the city by various Islamist factions targeting the US drones that have been looming overhead since the attack on the US consulate earlier this week.
Libya’s Deputy Interior Minister said the US had authorization to use the drones over Benghazi, and initial speculation was that the airport was closed just to all the drones to operate without anything else in the air.
The government’s statement was ambiguous, saying that it was done for “security reasons,” but Deputy Interior Minister Sharif later said the decision to close the airport was directly related to the anti-aircraft fire and the fear that they might hit civilian aircraft.
Libya had one of the largest anti-aircraft stockpiles in Africa, and this was almost entirely looted after last year’s regime change. Many of the weapons have ended up abroad, but various factions inside Libya have loaded up on armament as well.
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