VIDEO: Libya Renovates Dozens of Jets to Help Grounds in Battle against ISIS

Mon Sep 5, 2016 16:59:26

Misrata’s air force academy has renovated dozens of old trainer jets to be used in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS), as Libyan forces enter the final stages of retaking the coastal city of Sirte, Al-Alam News Network reports.

Former officers and technicians at the academy, which has been abandoned since the revolution of 2011, are arming many of the jets, once used for civilian pilot training.

“The Air Force Academy has mostly training jets only, but as a result of the phase in which Libya is currently passing through, and in order to fight terrorism, the jets were modified and developed to help with ground forces and which will help in the fight against Islamic State,” Deputy Commander Mohamed Amr said on Sunday (September 4).

Since Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS) took control of Sirte over a year ago, Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government have carried out hundreds of maneuvers aimed at some of the group’s key holdouts.

Between mid-February and early September, the academy’s renovated jets carried out some 1400 overflights in Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS) holdouts in Sirte which they say had prevented the group from expanding outside the city.

Fifty of these overflights were performed to aide surveillance tactics in desert and coastal areas, according to Colonel Abdel Rahman Monqar.

“The Libyan air force academy has performed hundreds of overflights over the past one year and two months against Islamic State holdouts in Sirte and its neighborhoods. We also performed nine overflights to back up oil installations in Libya’s central region when it was under threat from Islamic State. We were able to stop them and our maneuvers were accurate and effective. The academy is also carrying out daily overflights to survey the desert and coastal areas and catch any defectors from Sirte,” he said.

On Saturday (September 3) Libyan forces announced further progress in the final stages of their campaign to oust Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS) from its former North African stronghold.

Losing Sirte would be a major blow for the group, which has used the city as an important base for Libyan and foreign fighters.

S/SH 11

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