Libyan UN-backed gov’t forces announce downing of east-based army’s fighter jet

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TRIPOLI, LIBYA - MAY 15: Libyan National Accord Government troops clash military commander Khalifa Haftar's troops on course of the airport in Al Sawani region of Tripoli, Libya on May 15, 2019. (Photo by Amru Salahuddien/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Libyan National Accord Government troops clash military commander Khalifa Haftar’s troops on course of the airport in Al Sawani region of Tripoli, Libya. (Photo by Amru Salahuddien/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The forces of Libya’s UN-backed government announced that they shot down a fighter jet belonging to the east-based army on Saturday in the city of Zawiya, some 45 km west of the capital Tripoli.

“Our forces shot down a MiG-23 fighter jet belonging to the war criminal Haftar (commander of east-based army) in southern Zawiya,” the UN-backed government forces said in a statement.

The fighter jet’s pilot was captured, the statement added, revealing no details about casualties.

The east-based army has been leading a military campaign since early April in and around Tripoli, in an attempt to take over the capital city and overthrow the UN-backed government.

The armed conflict has killed and injured thousands of people, while displacing nearly 120,000 civilians.

On Thursday, UN-backed Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Serraj said there will be no cease-fire without the withdrawal of the rival east-based army from western Libya.

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