By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 24 February 2014:
An Air Force helicopter that went missing two weeks ago shortly after taking . . .[restrict]off from Essider was shot down, according to a report by the Military Prosecutor.
The spokesman for Benghazi Joint Security Room (BJSR) Ibrahim Al-Sharaa said that that the Military Prosecutor had announced the helicopter came under fire during take off. The perpetrators were apparently a group calling itself ‘Al-Isnad Alamni,’ he added.
The helicopter took off as soon as the engines were started which, Sharaa said, was not standard procedure during take-off. The reason, he said, was because an armed group had entered the airport in five vehicles. Three of these are believed to have been fitted with anti-aircraft weapons.
The helicopter was unable to reach a safe height before the gunmen opened fire with AK47 rifles, Sharaa said. The helicopter then headed out to sea, which is where it is thought to have come down.
The search is still on for wreckage from the plane and the bodies of the five men on board when the helicopter lost radio contact with Benina Airbase. Last week, Italy joined search operations with a plane fitted with a special system that allows it to search for debris lying underwater on the ocean floor. [/restrict]