BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - A fighter jet belonging to east Libyan forces crashed in a residential area south of the city of Tobruk on Wednesday, killing the pilot and a family of three, military officials said.
The MiG jet suffered a technical fault while it was being piloted by Saleh Joudah, the commander of Tobruk air base, said Ahmed al-Mismari, spokesman for the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA).
Libya is home to a patchwork of armed groups with shifting loyalties. The LNA, which does not recognise the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, has made territorial gain in recent months in eastern and central Libya, while also fighting rival factions inside areas under its control.
A video was showing a prisoner exchange between the LNA and the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB), a faction that seized control of two of Libya’s key oil ports earlier this month.
Three LNA troops captured during the oil port fighting were seen being exchanged for six women who had been trapped by fighting in Benghazi. The exchange took place on Tuesday.
The women had been in a cluster of unfinished buildings on the edge of Benghazi’s Ganfouda district where a long siege by the LNA ended earlier this month when rival fighters and their families tried to escape.
The BDB said it advanced on the oil ports as part of a campaign to reach Benghazi and secure the return of families displaced by the LNA’s near three-year campaign there against Islamists and other opponents. Some of the BDB’s members had earlier fled the eastern city as the LNA advanced.
The Red Crescent said medical authorities received 54 bodies on the day the Ganfouda siege ended and that it later recovered another 21 bodies from the area.
Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Richard Lough