France publicly acknowledges it still has special forces deployed in Libya, says anti-tank missiles found in Libya were ‘unusable’
France said on Wednesday anti-tank missiles it bought from the United States and were later found in a base belonging to troops loyal to Libya’s eastern commander Khalifa Haftar were never intended for sale or transfer to any party to Libya’s conflict.
The Army Ministry said the missiles were intended for the “self-protection of a French military unit deployed to carry out intelligence and counter-terrorism operations”.
“Damaged and unusable, the armaments were being temporarily stocked at a depot ahead of their destruction,” the ministry said in a statement.
It is the first time since 2016 that France has publicly acknowledged it still has special forces deployed in Libya. It is not clear how many troops are deployed.
The cache of four Javelin anti-tank missiles were discovered after forces loyal to the U.N.-backed government raided the camp in Gheryan, in the mountains south of Tripoli, on June 26, the New York Times earlier reported.
In its statement, the Army Ministry denied the Javelins had been transferred to a local force, and reiterated that the arms were not subject to import restrictions because they were intended for the protection of French troops.