Report: Libyan pilots seek asylum in Malta

Feb. 21, 2011 at 3:40 PM
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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,, 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, reported.

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

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