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Militia Surrounds Airport In Libyan Capital

Security and airport officials say a Libyan militia group has surrounded Tripoli's international airport, forcing flights to be diverted to the capital's military airport.

An unnamed official told Reuters that the militia, called the Al-Awfea Brigade from the town of Tarhouna, 80 kilometers southeast of Tripoli, demanded the release of one of their leaders whom they claimed disappeared overnight.

An airport customs official said flights were canceled and incoming planes were diverted to Tripoli's Mitiga Airport.

A spokesman for the ruling National Transitional Council, Mohammed al-Harizy, said the Al-Awfea head, Colonel Abu Oegeila al-Hebeishi, was kidnapped by unknown armed men while traveling between Tarhouna and Tripoli late on June 3.

The incident is the latest in a series of events where former Libyan rebels have either fought each other or stormed government offices to press for their demands.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP