Monday 23 April 2018

Libyan plane shot down by French

French fighter jets have shot down a Libyan plane (AP)
French fighter jets have shot down a Libyan plane (AP)
French military ground crew at Solenzara 126 Air Base, Corsica, prepare a Mirage 2000 jet fighter for a mission to Libya (AP)
Libyans react as they join a rally in support of the allied air campaign against the forces of Colonel Gaddafi in Benghazi (AP)

French fighter jets have shot down a Libyan plane, a US official has confirmed.

Although the information has not been publicly announced by the French government, an official in Washington said the jet reported destroying a Libyan plane believed to be a military trainer aircraft.

The French Rafael fighter, helping to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, destroyed what was identified as a Libyan G-2/Galeb near the coastal city of Misrata.

The US official said the Libyan plane may have been landing at the time of the attack, but details are still being confirmed.

French jets attacked an air base and other coalition bombers struck artillery, arms depots and parked helicopters overnight as Nato ships patrolled the coast to block the flow of arms and mercenaries.

Libyan state television showed blackened and mangled bodies that it said were victims of air strikes in Tripoli, but rebels have accused Gaddafi's forces of taking bodies from the morgue and pretending they are civilian casualties.

The international military operation against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces may last days or weeks - but not months, said French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.

But the rebels who largely control Libya's east remain out-gunned and disorganised, and instead of handing out weapons to would-be fighters at a checkpoint they are now handing out trainers.

The French strikes overnight hit a base about 155 miles south of the Libyan coastline, French military spokesman Thierry Burkhard told reporters in Paris.

In Tripoli, Libyan deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaim said that the "military compound at Juffra" was among the targets hit before dawn. Juffra is one of at least two air bases deep in Libya's interior, on main routes that lead from neighbouring countries in the Sahara region that have been suppliers of arms and fighters for the Gaddafi regime.

Press Association

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