East Libyan Forces Say Two Helicopters Crash in Military Operation

Tripoli (Reuters ) -
FILE PHOTO: Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar gestures as he speaks during Independence Day celebrations in Benghazi, Libya, December 24, 2020. (REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/File Photo)

East Libyan forces said they lost two helicopters in a crash during a military operation on Sunday, after days of fighting with a formerly allied rebel group from Chad.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar has been engaged since last week in battles with the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) in the south of Libya near the Chadian border.

LNA special forces said in a statement that the two helicopters had collided and crashed during a military operation south of Benina airbase, but did not say whether they were involved in the fighting.

Major fighting in Libya’s civil war has been paused since the LNA offensive ended last year and both sides have accepted a ceasefire, an interim unity government and the idea of elections, although mercenaries remain dug in on both sides.