Advertisement

Libya: At least 12 people killed in helicopter crash near Tripoli

Militant leaders and employees of a bank were reportedly on board the aircraft.

By Fred Lambert
Libya: At least 12 people killed in helicopter crash near Tripoli
A helicopter was shot down near Libya's northwestern Mediterranean coast on Oct. 27, 2015, killing at least 12 people. Photo by Przemek Tokar/ Shutterstock.com

TRIPOLI, Libya, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- At least 12 people are dead after their helicopter crashed west of the Libyan capital of Tripoli Tuesday.

The BBC, quoting a militia spokesman and local media, reports the aircraft was on its way to Tripoli, carrying money for a bank as well as passengers, when it was shot down in the Al-Maya coastal region.

Advertisement

The dead may include high-ranking militia members and bank workers from the town of Surman, the spokesman said. The aircraft reportedly went down in an area that has seen clashes between rival militias.

Since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, rebel forces in Libya turned against each other, with one side forming an internationally-recognized government in Tobruk, to the northeast, and rival factions forming the General National Congress in Tripoli, to the west.

Both sides agreed to a United Nations-backed ceasefire in January, but several militant cells not aligned with either side have not acknowledged the arrangement.

A group known as Majlis Shura Shabab al-Islam declared allegiance to IS-leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in November and seized the city of Derna. Re-branding itself as the Tripoli Province of the Islamic State, the group has since claimed responsibility for a number of incidents, including the execution of two Tunisian journalists and an attack at a hotel in Tripoli that killed at least 10 people in January.

Advertisement

In February the group released a video depicting the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians who had reportedly been abducted in Sirte in January and February. A majority of the victims were from Egypt, prompting Cairo to launch airstrikes against the IS affiliate.

At least 25 people were killed in August during street battles between IS fighters and a Salafist Muslim group -- as well as several armed civilians -- in the city of Sirte. IS captured most of Sirte earlier this year, but rival militants and angry residents revolted following the death of a local cleric and others who refused to pledge allegiance to the jihadists.

More recently, IS militants killed eight soldiers with Libya's internationally-recognized government during attacks last month against checkpoints 4 miles southeast of Benghazi.

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement