World Bulletin / News Desk
Libya closed its air space over Benghazi airport temporarily because of heavy anti-aircraft fire aiming at U.S. reconnaissance drones flying over the city, days after the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an attack.
The closure of the airport prompted speculation that the United States was deploying special forces in preparation for an attack against the suspects who were involved in the attack.
A Libyan official said the spy planes flew over the embassy compound and the city, taking photos and inspecting locations of groups who are alleged to have planned and staged the attack on the U.S. consulate on Tuesday.
Fighters used anti-aircraft guns to fire at the drones, forcing the authorities to shut the airport because they feared for the safety of passenger planes.
"Two American drones flew over Benghazi last night with knowledge of the Libyan authorities," Deputy Interior Minister, Wanis al-Sharif told Reuters. "They were visible to the eye, and came under attack by anti-aircraft weapons used by armed militias."
"For this reason, Benghazi security decided to close down the Benghazi airport airspace. Any decision to allow an operation of any sort on Libya soil will be made in coordination with the congress and the new government."
Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the other Americans died after gunmen attacked the lightly fortified U.S. consulate and a safe house refuge in Benghazi on Tuesday night. The attack, which U.S. officials believe could have been planned in advance, emerged from a protest blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.
Ali al-Shaikhi, spokesman for the Army Chief of Staff said Western allied forces, who helped Libyan rebels to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi last year, continued to fly planes and drones over Libyan airspace to help Libya keep its skies safe.
He said that they had increased flights in the past few days due to the worsening security situation.
"News came out that there were American drones in the air and so the airport received threats from unknown groups that they would attack any American planes circling over Benghazi. This led the airport to take the decision to close the airspace to take precautions."
The U.S. military was moving two destroyers toward the coast of the North African state, giving the Obama administration flexibility for any future action against threats, the officials said.
But a member of the Libyan national assembly told Reuters: "The Americans may have spoken to our President or Chief of Staff to coordinate an attack on the radical groups in Benghazi but they have not approached us as a Congress (assembly) yet."
"I believe that so far we as Libyans can take care of the operation ourselves because the militias feel they are part of Libyan society, but if we have Americans come in with an operation then these militias will also turn on us," he
"For sure we will need the Americans for their logistical and technical support and expertise, and we will ask them for it when the time comes. But for now we need to try to do it ourselves."
Airport manager Taba Mohammed said the closure ran for about 10 hours from 0030 GMT. U.S. officials said earlier a Marine Corps anti-terrorist squad was being sent into Libya to shore up security.
"We have now reopened the air space. It was closed for routine security checks," Mohammed told Reuters.
Turkish Airlines said the closure of Benghazi air space had forced one of its flights with 121 people aboard to turn back to Istanbul on Friday.
Anti-Semitism has remained a big problem in Hungary, home to one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe.
20,730 foreign fighters, including about 11,000 people from the Middle East, went to Iraq and Syria.
Unemployment is major challenge for Sisi, thousands seek jobs in Libya despite violence and chaos.
Until now, Israel has denied the deaths and injuries.
After the tropical storm Madagascar's government appealed for international aid.
Kathrin Oertel also stepped down, citing media pressure.
After U.S. bans first choice, Iran names new U.N. ambassador as Gholamali Khoshroo.
Under the new Saudi king, relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran are expected to remain unchanged as their rivalry in the Middle East region continues, say experts.
Natives of the war-torn Syrian city are impatiently waiting to return their old homes but realities on the ground could prevent them from leaving immediately.
Prolonged process of setting up an Afghan Cabinet continues after parliament rejects president's choices.
Israeli FM said Israel should be responded to harshly and disproportionately, just as China or the U.S. would in similar circumstances.
Belgian politician likens government's plans to revoke foreign fighter citizenship to methods used by Nazis.
NGOs detail failures of criminal justice system in dealing with children.
For the United States the new year brought a shift in the scales of power in Washington.
Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) was holding the Bulgarians captive.
The agreement includes a defense pact between Russia and Abkhazia that obligates both sides to come to each other's aid in the event of aggression.