By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 6 May 2015:
The second Libya Dawn warplane in six weeks has been shot down in the west, . . .[restrict]apparently during a sortie against Zintan airport.
The aircraft, a Mig-25, was brought down by anti-aircraft fire around 7pm yesterday evening. It is being claimed that the plane had taken off from Mitiga airport.
The pilot ejected from his doomed craft and was captured when he landed. Government sources say he is Hussein Mohamed Al-Misrati, aged 49.
The loss of the Mig-25 interceptor, a plane in Qaddafi’s air force which had been retired from active service, follows the shooting down in March of a Mig 23 during another attack on Zintan airfield.
Libya Dawn forces have struggled to answer government air superiority. The March downing of the Mig-23, in which the pilot died but the navigator was captured, was seen as a significant blow.
It has been reported that Misrata had managed to bring two of this warplane type back into service using East European engineers. However, past raids on government positions have also included the use of training aircraft.
The origin of the Mig-25 shot down last night is unclear. It would seem that it had been taken out of mothballs and put back in operational order.
The government is claiming that it has satellite photo evidence that at least one of these warplanes has been restored at Mitiga airport, the sprawling former US Wheelus airbase, which is also now Tripoli’s only functioning civil airport . Mitiga has been subjected to a series of largely ineffectual raids by government aircraft.