Erdogan says Turkey ready to increase military support, as Libyan National Army detects use of civilian flights from Turkey to carry military equipment (UPDATED)

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President Erdogan said that Turkey will increase its military support to the internationally recognised government of Libya if necessary and will evaluate ground, air and marine options.

Meanwhile the Libyan National Army force said on Sunday it had monitored a Boeing 747-412 that had flown from Istanbul to Libya carrying military equipment.

LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari warned other carriers against transporting weapons using civilian planes, adding that “the army will down and strike any plane” that carries weapons.

“The civilian status of aircraft is revoked as soon as they are used for military purposes,” Mismari told Reuters. Mismari also said, in a video released on Sunday, that the LNA was extending an ultimatum it had given fighters in Misrata aligned with the internationally recognised Government of National Accord based in Tripoli. They would now have until Wednesday at midnight to withdraw from the city instead of midnight on Sunday.

Eastern Libyan forces seized a Grenada-flagged ship with a Turkish crew on Saturday off the Libyan coast, a spokesman said, amid rising tensions with Turkey, which supports the rival GNA in Tripoli.

Euronews reported the the Libyan forces in the country’s east say they have seized a ship with Turkish crew members amid tensions in the eastern Mediterranean over a contentious maritime border deal between Ankara and rival Libyan groups.

In a statement late Saturday, the self-styled Libyan National Army — which backs the east-based administration — said a vessel flying a Grenada flag with several Turkish crew members had been forcibly taken into a Libyan port for inspection. However, it remained unclear if the move was indeed a seizure.

 

Via Euronews / Reuters

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