US drone shot down ‘accidentally’ over Libya

Libya says the shooting down of a US drone over the capital Tripoli last week was accidental after it was mistaken for a Turkish unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) deployed by the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), Al Jazeera reported.


The shooting down of the drone, which was conducting a security assessment and monitoring activity over Tripoli, by forces loyal to renegade General Khalifa Haftar of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) came shortly before Haftar declared a no-fly zone over the capital.

Haftar asserted that his forces mistook the drone for a foreign UAV.

Warnings issued

Haftar, who supports a rival administration in the east of Libya, had previously warned that Turkish aircraft would be targeted after accusing Ankara of supporting GNA government forces.

The LNA has meanwhile apologised for shooting down the US drone and has “agreed with the Americans to coordinate their operations over Tripoli and its surrounding areas to avoid similar incidents in the future”.

Its weekend declaration of a no-fly zone over Tripoli has been condemned as a breach of international law and a possible “war crime” by the GNA, while rights groups accuse the LNA of indiscriminate attacks on civilians while carrying out air raids over the capital.

The LNA invaded Tripoli in early April in a bid to overthrow the GNA. The ongoing fighting has reached a stalemate with neither side gaining ground.

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