A Libyan fighter jet has crashed in the restive eastern city of Benghazi amid fighting between militiamen and forces loyal to a renegade former army general.
Mohammed Hegazi, spokesman for General Khalifa Haftar’s so-called National Army, said the military aircraft crashed Tuesday due to “technical failure” and that the pilot safely bailed out.
However, the official Facebook page of The Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, an umbrella group for militias there, claimed responsibility for the “downing” of the fighter jet.
It said it came in response to “tyrant Haftar’s and his followers’ nightly bombardments” of their positions.
Medical sources say at least 30 people were killed overnight and Tuesday morning in Benghazi during heavy clashes involving warplanes and rockets between government special forces and militants.
Meanwhile, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said on Tuesday his country is temporarily pulling its diplomats out of conflict-stricken Libya over security concerns.
Nearly three years after the fall of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a popular uprising in October 2011, Libya is still grappling with rising insecurity as the country has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militant groups.
The former rebels refuse to lay down arms despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.
Thousands of angry Libyan demonstrators frequently take to the streets in different cities to protest against the lack of security across the North African country.