Pro-Haftar pilot killed as fighter jet crashes near Benghazi
The body of a pilot who died in a plane crash has been transferred to a medical facility in Benghazi on Saturday, Libyan sources confirmed to The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister service Al Araby Al Jadeed.
The sources confirmed the pilot’s identity as Jamal bin Amer, who had been scheduled to participate in a military parade organised by forces belonging to Major General Khalifa Haftar.
The crash has been blamed on a technical defect that caused issues shortly after the MiG-21 took off.
Bin Amer, who actively took part in airstrikes by Haftar forces across the country, was promoted to the rank of pilot brigadier general in February last year after his plane was struck near Tripoli.
Haftar has emerged as a key player during the decade of violence that followed the 2011 overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The rogue commander has battled Islamist militants and had built a solid base of support among eastern Libya's influential tribes - as well as neighbouring Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.
Haftar's eastern-based forces battled for more than a year to seize the capital Tripoli in the west, but their defeat last June set the stage for UN-backed peace talks, a unity government and a nationwide poll planned for December.
But two years since his self-styled Libyan National Army launched its offensive to overthrow a internationally recognised unity government in Tripoli, the landscape is very different.
A formal truce last October set in motion a UN-led process that led to the creation of an interim government tasked with unifying the country's divided institutions, launching reconstruction efforts and preparing for December polls.
Haftar kept a low profile throughout the talks, but in recent weeks he has made a comeback with public rallies and pledges to build three new towns and thousands of housing units for the families of "martyrs".