Civilian planes under threat as Libyan warlord declares a no-fly zone

Following a decision by Libya’s renegade general Khalifa Hafter to declare a no-fly zone over the capital Tripoli the Libyan interior ministry has warned that threats to civilian aircraft constitute a war crime and are punishable by national and international law.


“Haftar has given the Al Jufra and Al Watiya airbases as well as another airbase in eastern Libya to foreign troops. Al Jufra airbase is operated by United Arab Emirate (UAE) military experts who operate China-made drones that have committed crimes against civilians,” the interior ministry said in a Sunday statement.

Over the weekend Haftar’s spokesman Ahmed Al Mismari warned in a media statement that his self styled Libyan National Army (LNA) had imposed a no-fly zone over Tripoli, with the exception of Mitiga Airport, restricting the area without prior coordination and its permission, the Libya Observer reported.

Rival authority

The LNA, which supports a rival authority in the east of Libya, invaded Tripoli in early April in a bid to overthrow forces loyal to the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord.

The fighting has reached a stalemate with neither side gaining ground but civilians paying a heavy price and crucial infrastructure badly damaged as LNA planes carry out bombing attacks over Tripoli.

The civil war is also being exacerbated by regional foreign military and economic support for the opposing sides.

– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa