Apprehension as Libya’s Haftar forces target passenger planes
London, Jan. 23, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The forces of the Libyan military strongman Gen Khalifa Haftar say they will target any civilian or military plane using the airport that serves the capital, Tripoli.
Ahmed Al-Mismari, spokesman for Haftar forces, said on social media that Libya’s capital of Tripoli and its surrounding areas as a “no-fly zone” and threatened to hit civilian planes.
Specifically, forces declared the off-limit area from Giryan, 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of the capital city, to Terhune city, 90 kilometers southeast (56 miles) and to the Tripoli beach, including Mitiga Airport in the capital.
He said all planes in the declared area would be a “legitimate” target.
Meanwhile, a London based aviation expert, Thomas Jones has told Alternativeafrica in London that the world must act fast to the threat against the recent and unfortunate short-down of Ukrainian passenger plane in Iran
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed after takeoff from Tehran’s airport. The crash came hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases housing US troops in retaliation for a drone strike at Baghdad airport that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani
The Libyan militias bombed the Mitiga International Airport with six Grad missiles earlier Wednesday.
On Jan. 12, parties in Libya announced a cease-fire in response to a joint call by the Turkish and Russian leaders. But talks for a permanent cease-fire deal ended without an agreement after Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.
On Sunday, Haftar accepted terms in Berlin to designate members to a UN-proposed military commission with five members from each side to monitor implementation of the cease-fire.
Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya:Commander Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya, supported mainly by Egypt and the UAE, and the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.
Haftar’s military offensive against Libya’s internationally recognized government claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people since April last year.