United States missiles found in Libya compound belonged to France

The missiles were discovered on a rebel base in Gharyan after UN-recognised government forces recaptured the city at the end of June

The missiles were discovered on a rebel base in Gharyan after UN-recognised government forces recaptured the city at the end of June

Authorities said Wednesday Libyan government forces have discovered multiple US -made Javelin anti-tank missiles in rebel hands, prompting new concern about covert and illegal arm sales.

The anti-tank missiles were seized when forces loyal to the UN-recognised government in Tripoli overran a pro-Haftar base in Gharyan, 60 miles south of Tripoli.

It said they were damaged and no longer operational, and were put into storage for destruction.

France's Defense Ministry acknowledged Wednesday that USA -made missiles captured from the self-styled Libyan National Army belonged to the French military.

Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) blamed the airstrike on commander Khalifa Haftar's forces, backed by the United Arab Emirates along with Egypt.

France has in the past supported Haftar. If France was confirmed to have provided rebels in Libya with arms, it would be in violation of a 2011 United Nations arms embargo as well as a sales agreement with the United States.

"These weapons were for the protection of forces undertaking intelligence and counter-terror missions", the French statement added.

London's Gatwick airport suspends flights due to air traffic control problem
But after around three hours of disruption, the airport released a statement that flights are back to normal. The airport said it had experienced a problem with its air traffic control systems.

Haftar is increasingly seen by his allies, which include Russian Federation and Egypt, as a bulwark against Islamists in Libya who gained a foothold after the 2011 uprising that ousted dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

"The open question is whether or not they are actively supporting Haftar's forces in their offensive on Tripoli".

On 4 April he launched an offensive on the Libyan capital seeking to overthrow the government of the prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj.

Merkel criticized the role of foreign powers in the Libya conflict and urged all countries to implement the United Nations arms embargo on Libya.

The fighting has claimed at least 1,000 lives and displaced tens of thousands of people.

He invited Haftar along with Sarraj to a peace conference in Paris in 2017 which was seen as giving the rebel commander worldwide legitimacy for the first time.

When Haftar launched his offensive on Tripoli in April, France was accused by Sarraj of being complicit in the violence which was condemned by the global community.

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