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Haftar’s Libyan National Army claims to shot down a Libyan government military aircraft

Haftar's Libyan National Army claims to shot down a Libyan government military aircraft

The GNA and Haftar’s forces were exchanging tit-for-tat airstrikes on each other’s positions near the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

The Libyan National Army (LNA), headed by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, claims to have shot down a military aircraft en route from the city of Misrata, an official representative of the military announced.

“The reports have just emerged that the Libyan National Army shot down a military aircraft that departed from Misrata,” LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said during a news conference in Benghazi on Wednesday.

It remains unclear whether the jet belonged to the Government of National Accord (GNA) or a foreign force.

Media reports say the Aero L-39 Albatros plane, a Czech-made training jet often used in a ground attack role, belonged to the Government of National Accord (GNA) and was shot down over Qasr Bin Ghashir south of Tripoli.

Fresh fighting has flared near the Libyan capital, Tripoli, between pro-government forces and rebel fighters from the east of the country. Reports say clashes between Gen Khalifa Haftar’s rebels and pro-government groups are taking place in three suburbs to the south of the city.

Factions of the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by hardline General Khalifa Haftar, have made a thrust into Tripoli and have claimed to have taken control of Tripoli International Airport.

 

Libya has been the scene of increasing violence since 2011, when former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was killed in a NATO military intervention that followed a popular uprising. Gaddafi’s ouster created a huge power vacuum, leading to chaos and the emergence of numerous militant outfits, including the Daesh terrorist group.

The GNA is the internationally-recognized government of Libya seated in Tripoli. But it has been unable to exercise state powers over the entire Libyan territory, where militia groups have been active since an uprising against the then-dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Another major power faction that lays a claim to power is based in the city of Tobruk, in Libya’s east. It has its own quasi-army, led by self-styled General Khalifa Haftar.

Last week, Haftar ordered his forces to advance on the capital, in what seems to be an attempt to unseat the GNA.

The political process and risks further escalation with serious consequence on their way to Tripoli, Haftar’s forces have overtaken several oil fields and towns, but have faced stiff resistance from forces loyal to the GNA near Tripoli, where they have been stopped. The situation is deadlocked, and fighting continues despite international calls for an end to hostilities.

The fighting between rival domestic forces continues near the capital Tripoli and elsewhere, and that prompted the UN to postpone a conference in Libya that had been meant to discuss the possibility of holding elections in the country.

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