Libyan warplane crashes after attacking Islamic State militants

Before crashing, the aircraft conducted raids on Islamic State militants positions some nine miles from Derna


Afp February 09, 2016
A Libyan girl stands next to the wreckage of a government MiG warplane that crashed during clashes in Benghazi, Libya, on July 29, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

BENGHAZI, LIBYA: A warplane operated by forces loyal to Libya's recognised government crashed Monday near the eastern city of Derna after attacking Islamic State group positions, a military official said.

Spokesperson Nasser el-Hassi told AFP the pilot of the MiG-23, Younes al-Dilani, "survived the crash".

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Hassi refused to reveal the cause but LANA news agency, which is close to the recognised government, attributed it to "technical problems".

Before crashing, the aircraft conducted raids on Islamic State militants positions some 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Derna.

Two administrations are vying for power in war-ravaged Libya, one based in the capital Tripoli backed by a coalition of militias, and the internationally recognised government, exiled in the east.

In early January, a MiG 23 came down in Benghazi, the main city in the east. The authorities reported a technical problem but Islamic State claimed to have shot it down.

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Derna, 1,100 kilometres (680 miles) east of Tripoli, is controlled by the Mujahedeen Shura Council of Derna, a motley mix of Islamist militias that includes Ansar al-Sharia which is close to Al qaeda.

The chaos engulfing Libya since the fall of dictator Moamer Kadhafi's regime in 2011 has fostered the rise of Islamic State which has based itself in the former dictator's hometown of Sirte in eastern Libya.

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