Planes secretly deliver cargo to Haftar’s military bases in Libya, investigation finds

Planes secretly deliver cargo to Haftar’s military bases in Libya, investigation finds
An investigation by Al-Jazeera found that two Russian-made planes have made trips from Israel, the UAE and Jordan to airbases controlled by rogue General Khalifa Haftar, dropping off unidentified cargo.
2 min read
28 May, 2019
Warring Libyan sides continue to receive weapons in violation of a UN arms embargo [Getty]

Cargo planes have been found to be dropping off unidentified material at airbases controlled by rogue Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, an investigation by Al-Jazeera Arabic TV has found.

An investigation by the channel, using satellite images and flight information, found that two Russian-made Ilyushin 76 planes registered to Reem Travel, an Emirati-Kazakh company made a number of trips from the Emirates, Israel and Jordan to the Haftar-controlled military bases in Libya in early April.

This was when Haftar was attempting to capture the Libyan capital Tripoli, which is controlled by the internationally-recognised government of Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj.

The transponders of the planes appear to have been turned off during their flights.

Libya is currently under a UN arms embargo, which does not seem to be being enforced as both Haftar and the internationally-recognized government continue to receive weapons.

A YouTube video published by Haftar’s forces showed cargo from one of the planes, with the tracking number UP-I7645, being unloaded at Tamanhant airbase as an official said that “money would be received” by a “specialized committee under the supervision of the Libyan Armed Forces”, in a reference to Haftar’s self-styled “Libyan National Army”

Analyst Bill Law told Al-Jazeera, "What we're seeing are lots of players coming into Libya. It's a recipe that's almost heading to a Yemen scenario. We're beginning to see a proxy war emerging. We're looking at a pretty bleak situation. In this situation of a vacuum, you see players emerge and we're seeing this now."

Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army has received backing from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Russia while Qatar and Turkey have supported the internationally recognized government. Haftar’s assault on the Libyan capital Tripoli has recently stalled as fighters loyal to the government have mounted a successful defence.

The official spokesman of the government’s “Volcano of Anger” operation, Mohammed Qununu, told The New Arab on Tuesday that there was no “direct fighting” with Haftar’s forces but that Haftar’s forces were conducting intense shelling of the capital.