Fighting at the Libyan capital Tripoli’s only working international airport killed at least 20 people yesterday (Monday), after militiamen attacked it in an attempt to free colleagues held at a jail there.

Mitiga airport, a former military air base on the eastern outskirts of the capital, was evacuated when the clashes erupted and roads to the facility were closed.

Six Libyan aircraft on the tarmac were hit by gunfire, an airport source said.

Several assailants were arrested, according to Tripoli security services run by the interior ministry.

The airport source and a local resident said the assailants were repelled and that fighting moved to their headquarters around 10 km to the east of the facility.

The North African country has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed former leader Muammar Gaddafi, with rival authorities and militias battling for control of its oil riches.