Thursday, 25 April, 2019

Haftar forces' fighter jet downed near libya capital, says unity government

Haftar forces' fighter jet downed near libya capital, says unity government Haftar forces' fighter jet downed near libya capital, says unity government
Jeannette Daniel | 15 April, 2019, 04:53

The eastern-based army has been leading a military campaign against the government in the capital Tripoli since earlier this month, attempting to take over the city.

Libya's Khalifa Haftar was in Egypt on Sunday on a previously unannounced visit, taking time out from his Libyan National Army's march on the Libyan capital to hold talks with his Egyptian sponsor, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

"President Sisi stressed Egypt's support for the efforts of counter-terrorism and fighting the extremist groups and militants to achieve security and stability in Libya", Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said in the statement.

Haftar, who was exiled in the United States for two decades, returned to Libya in 2011 when the revolution erupted, commanding forces that eventually toppled dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Egypt has close ties with the renegade general but also publicly supports the UN-led peace efforts in Libya.

The meeting was attended by Egypt's intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.

Analysts believe the campaign on Tripoli could potentially reignite large-scale fighting among the country's rival powers and undermine worldwide efforts to reunite the fractured North African nation.

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United Nations envoy Ghassan Salame said a school was bombed in the town of Ain Zara, around 15 kilometres southeast of Tripoli, without saying who was responsible. "No matter how obstinate one becomes, there is no solution except a political one", Ghassan Salame said in a Twitter post.

"The World Health Organization strongly condemns repeated attacks on healthcare workers, vehicles and facilities", WHO tweeted'. Some 13,600 people have fled their homes.

Haftar has defied worldwide calls to halt his battle against fighters loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli.

The front lines were mostly calm on Sunday morning but military sources said in the afternoon that an eastern Libyan warplane crashed in southern Tripoli. No further details were available.

Bashagha told a United States-based Arabic language TV channel on Friday that they received information about an aircraft that came from UAE and landed in Benghazi's Benina Airport with military equipment for Haftar's forces in violation of the UN arms embargo.

The 75-year-old Haftar's push for Tripoli took many by surprise and has brought calls from round the world for a ceasefire. He was referring to eastern officials allied to the Tripoli government.

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