By Jamal Adel and Ajnadin Mustafa.
Beida/Tripoli, 30 December 2014:
Aircraft belonging to the Libya National Army have hit Gardabiya airbase 15 kilometres . . .[restrict]south of Sirte following an airstrike by Libya Dawn aircraft at Sidra the morning, according to the General Chief of Staff spokesperson, Ahmed Al-Mismari. He claimed one of Libya Dawn’s aircraft had been destroyed in the subsequent air fight and that LNA ground forces were now closing in on Ben Jawad, some 35 Kilometres west of Sidra and where fighters from Libya Dawn’s Operation Sunrise are said to be now based.
“This morning at 07:00 two aircraft carried out an airstrike at Sidra, but they were repulsed by anti-aircraft fire from the ground,” Mismari told the Libya Herald. “One was a training helicopter, the other a jet fighter,” he added.
LNA aircraft had been launched to defend the facility and had shot down the Libya Dawn plane, he claimed.
Another report suggested that the plane shot at was a trainer.
Ali Al-Hassi, the Petroleum Facilities Guard spokesperson at Sidra, also claimed that that a Dawn plane, a Mig 23, had been shot down near Sirte. A second Dawn plane had been also been downed, he told this newspaper – a trainer not a helicopter, he said.
It is unclear of the Dawn aircraft actually took off from Gardabiya.
“LNA planes are striking back and they destroyed Dawn’s jet, Mismari said. “The LNA is now moving by ground close to Ben Jawad,” he added, [/restrict]