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Report: Libyan pilots seek asylum in Malta

Feb. 21, 2011 at 3:40 PM

VALLETTA, Malta, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Two jet fighters landed in Malta, with the Libyan pilots saying they defected because they were ordered to dive-bomb protesters, Maltese officials said.

The pilots cited a fuel shortage when they requested permission to land in Malta Monday, Di-Ve.com, Malta's Web portal, reported.

The military planes were held at Malta International Airport and the pilots were detained for questioning, officials said.

Maltese officials also said two French-registered civilian helicopters landed Monday, one with three people and the other with four. The passengers said they were French, Di-Ve.com reported.

Sources told the Web site the helicopter passengers "escaped from Libya with no official clearance."

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