Pro-Haftar forces claim to down plane over Tripoli

Libya’s warring rivals continue to trade blows over capital.
TRIPOLI: Forces loyal to renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar on Tuesday claimed to have downed a military aircraft affiliated with Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

In a statement, pro-Haftar forces said they had managed to shoot down a GNA-affiliated military aircraft that had attempted to strike positions in Tripoli’s southern ​​Al-Hira district.

“The plane’s pilot, of Portuguese origin, has been detained,” the statement added without providing further details.

The GNA, for its part, has yet to comment on the claims.

In early April, Haftar, who commands forces loyal to a rival government based in eastern Libya, launched a wide-ranging campaign to capture Tripoli, where the GNA is headquartered.

Over the course of the last six weeks, dozens have been killed — from both sides — in on-again, off-again clashes on the capital’s outskirts.

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when long-serving leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a bloody NATO-backed uprising after four decades in power.

Since then, the oil-rich country has seen the emergence of two rival seats of power: one in eastern Libya, with which Haftar is affiliated, and another in Tripoli, which enjoys UN recognition.–AA

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