By Libya Herald reporter.
Benghazi, 3 January 2017:
Misrata military council spokesperson Ibrahim Beitelmal is reported to be among a six people of injured when a Libya National Army (LNA) MiG fighter targeted a group of people who had flown into Jufra airbase today from Tripoli on board a C-130 military transporter. At least one of the group is said to have been killed. He has been named as Mohamed Abdulhafid Al-Akshi.
According to the Misratans, a group of officials and dignitaries had flown to Jufra to give condolences for those killed when the base was attacked by LNA aircraft eight days ago.
Most the latter are believed to have been members of the Benghazi Defence Brigades based in Jufra.
However, according to Colonel Ahmed Mismari, the LNA spokesman, the C-130 was carrying military supplies to the airbase and those on board were military officials, not civilians. As for Al-Akshi, he was “the right-hand of [Abdul-Hakim] Belhaj” (the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group), Mismari claimed in a statement to the Libya Herald.
According to the Misratans, though, Akshi was a civilian from Hun and was about to be given a lift on the plane on its return flight to Tripoli.
Asked how the LNA knew who had been injured and killed, Mismari said that it had its sources in Jufra. The flight also had been monitored from the minute it took off from Tripoli’s Mitiga airbase. The attack had been a case of precision targeting, he further stated.
The pilot of the jet fighter involved has meanwhile been quoted saying that he decided not to destroy the C-130 as it belonged to the Libyan air force and would one day be returned to it.
A spokesman for the air forces based in Misrata, Mohammed Genunu has said that there will be a response to the attack.
In a related development, the LNA today declared that the area from Brega to Sirte and south to Sebha was a military zone and all flights other than those of the LNA were not allowed.
Flights to Sebha’s Tamenhint airport have already been suspended because of the clashes in the area.