Libyan rebels capture Misrata airport

Reuters/Mohammed Salem

Rebel forces in Libya captured Misrata airport on Wednesday after battling against troops loyal to Moamer Kadhafi, marking their first significant advance after weeks of being held back by pro-regime forces.


Reports say the airport of Libya’s third largest city fell to the rebels after fierce overnight fighting.

The insurgents celebrated their victory by cheering in the streets and setting alight tanks abandoned by Kadhafi’s troops.

The airport’s capture is important because until now the city had been cut off from the outside world by the pro-regime forces, with the port being the only route in or out of the city.

A spokesperson for the insurgents’ National Transitional Council in the rebel-stronghold Benghazi confirmed that Misrata airport had been captured.

“We took full control of Misrata airport and pushed back Kadhafi forces around 15 kilometres from the airport,” said Abdel Busin.

“The airport is in our control but is not free because it is still within range of Grad rockets” fired by retreating Kadhafi forces, he added.

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