By Libya Herald staff.
Malta, 7 January 2015;
The Libyan Air Force, of the only internationally recognized government in Libya, threatened yesterday to . . .[restrict]strike with its jets at any ships approaching the port of the city of Misrata.
In a stern warning reported by LANA, the Commander of the Air Force, Brigadier Saqr Al-Jaroushi, said that ‘’any vessel or cargo ship approaching the port of Misrata would be targeted directly and immediately’’ as of Friday 9 January.
The warning follows the announcement on Monday that the LNA has received 4 new Russian-made Sukhoi SU-27 fighter jets reportedly capable of covering a distance of 3,530 km with a top speed of 2,500 kmh. In comparison, commercial passenger flights from Tripoli to Benghazi, for example, take about an hour to cover the distance.
Meanwhile, in a further development, the LNA Air Force yesterday threatened to shoot down any Sudanese or Turkish aircraft, military or civilian, that enters Libyan airspace. Turkish airline flights to Libya have been, and are still suspended until further notice.
The Sudanese airlines has not been flying to Libya for quite a few months. On Monday, however, the Thinni government issued a decision barring Sudanese (as well as Syrian and Palestinian) passport holders from entering Libya.
Today, a spokesperson for the Sudanese army said that it was self-evident that any military air craft entering Libyan airspace would be shot down. As for civilian planes they would only enter based on mutual agreements, he explained.
The warning by the LNA Air Force to strike at any shipping approaching the port of Misrata comes also days after the LNA Air Force had on Sunday struck a Greek-operated oil tanker approaching Derna port in which a Greek and a Romanian were killed.
The action was condemned by the General National Congress, Greece and the USA.
The US Department of State statement went on to say that escalation of violence in Libya against civilian commercial interests was a threat to the “integrity, unity, neutrality, and independence” of Libya’s critical institutions, such as the National Oil Corporation (NOC).
The LNA claims that the airstrikes were justified because the tanker had not followed protocol by notifying the necessary authorities of its arrival and submitting to an inspection before entering the port.