TRIPOLI (AFP) – A Libyan fighter jet engaged in paramilitary attacks on Islamists in the restive eastern city of Benghazi crashed and exploded Tuesday after its pilot ejected safely, a military source and a witness said.
It was not immediately clear if the plane was shot down or suffered a malfunction, added General Sagr al-Jerouchi, chief of air operations for dissident general Khalifa Haftar.
A witness, who said he saw a parachute open before the crash, added that the warplane had just attacked Islamist positions.
Weekend fighting in Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 revolution that ousted dictator Moamer Kadhafi, killed dozens of people, mostly soldiers.
Combat erupted Saturday when Islamists attacked the headquarters of a special forces unit near the city centre. One of the few regular army units located in Benghazi, it backs an anti-Islamist campaign launched by Haftar in May but has not placed itself under his command.
Since May, clashes have taken place in Benghazi on an almost daily basis.