On Thursday, the General Command of the Libyan National Army (LNA) affirmed its commitment to pledges to facilitate the work of civil aviation and to open airports in the southwest and east alike on the condition that incoming and outgoing aircraft land at Benina International Airport, “for the purpose of security checks to ensure the identity of passengers and prevent the use of civil aviation in transporting terrorists and mercenaries from the west to the south of the country as a security precaution."
The General Command called on all airlines operating on these routes to abide by and adhere to these measures "in order to preserve their continuity and the safety of the country from the evil of terrorism and its supporters," according to the statement.
On Wednesday, a security source at Sebha Civil Airport stated that an Afriqiyah Airways flight plane was prevented from landing after a military group blocked the runway, forcing the pilot to return with the passengers to Tripoli's Mitiga International Airport.
The General Command justified its decision by “the presence of dangerous terrorist elements and mercenaries in western Libya that control the airports, especially the airports of Misrata and Mitiga,” in addition to the presence of terrorist outposts in the southwest that its military and security units are dealing with.
The LNA announced on September 15, the killing of the emir of ISIS in North Africa, in the Abd al-Kafi neighborhood in Sebha and arrests of militants south of the city.
The Ministry of Interior for Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) said that an armed group affiliated with the Libyan National Army's (LNA) General Command “deliberately prevented the Afriqiyah Airways plane from landing at Sabha airport on domestic flight No. 210 from Mitiga airport.”
They added in a statement that "several armed vehicles blocked the runway, which forced the airport's control tower to cancel the landing permit and return the plane to Tripoli in order to protect the passengers."
Afriqiyah Airways announced, earlier today, that it would suspend its flights to Sebha Airport and said the decision was due to "circumstances beyond its control," according to a statement.