Libya Warplane of Haftar's Forces 'Lands in Tunisia'


A warplane belonging to the forces of Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar made an emergency landing in neighboring Tunisia on Monday, an allied administration based in eastern Libya said.

The aircraft was on a "reconnaissance and patrol mission and suffered a technical problem resulting in an emergency landing" in southern Tunisia, a statement said.

Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army, which backs the eastern administration, launched an offensive in April to try to seize Tripoli from the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord.

Tunisia's defense ministry said the jet landed at around 0630 GMT on a road near Medenine city, which lies some 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Libya border.

Tunisia mobilized a fighter jet "to intercept and identify the aircraft, but it had to make an emergency landing," said the ministry, adding that one colonel was on board.

According to defense specialist Arnaud Delalande, the paintwork shown in bystanders' photos indicated it was "most probably a pro-Haftar plane".

While some of his sources said it carried out an emergency landing due to a navigation problem, others suggested the "Libyan pilot could have defected to refuse to bomb citizens" as in previous military campaigns.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in the battle for Tripoli, according to the World Health Organization, while more than 100,000 people have been displaced by the violence.

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