Libyan airforce ace dies in Benghazi

By Ibrahim Drissi.

Major Obeidi with Al-Hassi on his right just before his fatal flight (Photo: social media)

Major Obeidi with Ops room commander Abdelsalam Al-Hassi on his right just before his fatal flight (Photo: social media)

Benghazi, 6 July 2016:

A Libyan Air Force ace died this morning when his plane plunged into the ground in Benghazi’s Ganfouda district,  just after he had completed an airstrike.

There are conflicting rclaims that Major Idris Hamed Al-Obeidi was shot down or crashed because of a technical failure or pilot error.

Obeidi was widely admired as the air force’s most accomplished pilot. He joined up in 1984 and had flown thousands of hours on a range of warplanes.

Shortly before he took off this morning on what turned out to be his last mission, Obeidi posed beside his  distinctive Mig-23 with the Dignity operations room commander Abdelsalam Al-Hassi.

Obeidi's Mig-23 with its unpainted port wing (Photo: social media)

Obeidi’s Mig-23 with its unpainted port wing (Photo: social media)

Obeidi’s Mig was well-known in the skies above Benghazi. One of the wings had been  replaced but it is reported he had refused to have it painted to match the rest of the aircraft.

Shortly after the crash, soldiers said the warplane was hit by a missile as it pulled out of its attack run. A senior air force source however told this newspaper that the crash had been caused by a mechanical malfunction.  He added that Obeidi had been a fine pilot and his death was a sad loss.

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