On 15 January, major clashes in Tripoli occurred between anti-Libyan National Army (LNA) and pro-Government of National Accord (GNA) militias at Mitiga airport, the capital’s main functioning airport. The attack was reportedly part of a ‘prison break’ assault by the anti-LNA militias from Tajoura (east Tripoli) aiming to disable the GNA-affiliated Special Deterrence Force (RADA) controlling the airport and the adjacent prison. Pro-GNA Tripoli militias organized under the Minister of Interior’s Central Security Department deployed to Mitiga to support RADA and helped push back the assault. As many as 20 people were killed and more than 60 injured as a result of the fighting.
The anti-LNA militia, dubbed the “Infantry Brigade 33” and led by Bashir al-Bogra, were allegedly intending to free their associates arrested by RADA who have been accused of being Islamist extremists affiliated with ISIS, Ansar al- Sharia, and the Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council. The assault followed the collapse of lengthy negotiations between elders from Tajoura and Souq al-Juma (the neighborhood where Mitiga is located) to release the inmates.