LNA shoots down military plane in Tripoli, holding Portuguese pilot

The LNA forces of military commander Khalifa Haftar said they had shot down a military plane in the southern district of al-Hira on Saturday. (Supplied)

The Libyan National Army (LNA) said they had shot down a military plane in southern Tripoli and are holding a foreign Portuguese pilot.

The LNA forces of military commander Khalifa Haftar said they had shot down a military plane in the southern district of al-Hira on Saturday.

Earlier reports said the pilot was Italian, but in a video seen by Al Arabiya English, the pilot, appearing with a head injury, identified himself by name and said he is from Portugal.

Another video showed the pilot confessing to having been hired on a civilian contract to “destroy roads and bridges” in Libya.

Earlier, a fake Facebook account falsely attributed a spokesperson from the LNA saying the jet was a European surveillance plane used by the EU’s Operation Sophia in monitoring illegal migrant smuggling routes in the Mediterranean. The LNA issued a statement denying that false reports that the pilot was working for the EU and that he was being returned to his country.

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 UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) is headquartered.

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Last Update: 06:53 KSA 09:53 - GMT 06:53
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