Amid rising tension between Turkey and Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar, his fighters are claiming to have shot down a Turkish drone that entered Libyan airspace.
A Turkish drone has been destroyed by forces loyal to Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar near the country’s only functioning civilian airport, his militia said.
Turkey had previously threatened to attack the group after the detention of six Turkish citizens and hostile action against Turkish interests in territory under the command of Khalifa Haftar’s forces, known as the Libya National Army (LNA)
The LNA also said the Mitiga airport, the LNA also said the Mitiga airport, the only still functioning civilian airport in Libya, was targeted in an air strike. All flights were suspended “until further notice,” airport officials said.
On Sunday, Turkey slammed Haftar’s militia for detaining six Turkish nationals, describing it as “an act of thuggery and piracy.” Turkish Foreign Ministry said Haftar’s forces would “become legitimate targets” if the Turks were not released.
The Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar threatened retaliation “of the most effective and strongest kind” to any attacks against Turkey and its assets.
On Friday, Haftar’s LNA declared Turkish ships and aircraft “legitimate targets” for its forces and announced a ban on flights to Turkey. Authorities allied with the military leader asked Turkish nationals to leave Libya, banned Turkish exports and barred all ministries, state institutions and banks from dealing with Turkish companies.