Pilot killed in Libya fighter jet crash

2017-03-29 17:47


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Benghazi - A Libyan air force pilot was killed on Wednesday as his fighter jet crashed in the east of the country after carrying out strikes on a nearby jihadist stronghold, a military source said.

The MiG-21 crash-landed in a residential area south of Tobruk, where a rival to Libya's UN-backed unity government is based, 1 200km east of Tripoli.

A source at a Tobruk military base, who declined to be named, said the jet had carried out bombing raids on jihadist positions in Derna, 100km west of Tobruk, before crashing.

The pilot, a member of forces loyal to Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar, was killed but the source was unable to say if the incident caused any other casualties.

A spokesperson for Haftar's forces said on Facebook that the crash was down to a "technical failure".

Libya has been riven by fighting since the NATO-backed ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi, with rival forces vying for territory and the country's vast oil wealth.

The chaos has allowed jihadist fighters including the Islamic State group to gain a toehold on pockets of the Mediterranean coast.

Haftar supports the Tobruk-based authorities and opposes the UN-backed Government of National Accord, which controls Tripoli but has struggled to assert itself outside the capital.

Haftar's forces have battled jihadists in second city Benghazi for more than two years. They have lost several aircraft in recent months.

Read more on:    moammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa

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