By Noora Ibrahim and Farah Waleed.
Benghazi, 29 August 2014:
A warplane belonging to Operation Dignity crashed this morning near . . .[restrict]Beida, killing its pilot.
The commander of Operation Dinity’s air forces, Saqr Adam Geroushi, told the Libya Herald that the plane had crashed as a result of a technical failure. The Shura Council of Derna, an extremist Islamist group, has claimed however that it downed the plane with a surface to air missile.
Forces loyal to Ansar Al-Sharia based in Ras Al-Hilal fired eight rockets at Beida’s Labraq Airport today but missed. However, this attack is thought to have taken place later than the crash of the plane which occurred at around 9:30 am.
Geroushi dismissed claims the warplane was downed saying it suffered a technical fault while flying from Tobruk to Benghazi, where it was to carry out airstrikes on Islamist positions. He explained that the pilot, whom he identified as Ibrahim Al-Manifi, had been flying at a height of around 200 metres, too low to eject when the malfunction occurred.
Manifi, who was 56 years old, was the Commander of Toburk Airbase. He is survived by his wife and children.
In July a Mig jet fighter being used by the Operation Dignity crashed into waste ground in Kuwaifiya in Benghazi. However, no one was hurt after the the pilot was able to eject safely. Operation Dignity said at the time the crash was due to a technical problem although Ansar Al-Sharia claimed it had shot down the jet.