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Tunisian Foreign Minister: plane that entered airspace belongs to Haftar's forces

April 3, 2015 at 11:49 am

Tunisian Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche said the Libyan military plane that penetrated into Tunisian airspace on Wednesday belongs to Khalifa Haftar’s forces.

Baccouche said during a news conference in Tunis on Thursday: “The plane is a MiG-23 military aircraft model and it belongs to the Army of General Haftar and came to fight the forces of Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn), which belongs to the leadership of the General National Congress (GNC) held in Tripoli, on our borders.”

He continued: ”This aircraft did not enter deliberately or did not aim at aggression, and it needed a circle space passing by the Tunisian territory, when a Tunisian plane F-5 flew to it.”

The minister has requested Tunisia’s Secretary of State for Arab and African Affairs Altohamme Abdouly to inform the Libyan authorities in Benghazi that Tunisia rejects the actions because they “are against this fight in the first place, and we reject the use of air our airspace for this issue”.

Armed groups allied to Libya’s rival governments – one a militia-backed self-declared administration that took power in Tripoli after the internationally recognised government of Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni fled to Tobruk, in eastern Libya – are locked in a battle for control of the oil-rich nation.

General Khalifa Haftar, leading the Libyan National Army (LNA), has been the key force fighting on the side of Al-Thinni.