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Libyan fighter jets land in Malta

posted 21 Feb 2011, 12:31 by Mpelembe   [ updated 21 Feb 2011, 12:33 ]

Two Libyan Air Force Mirage F1 fighters land at Malta International airport.

Two Libyan fighter jets and two civilian helicopters landed unexpectedly in Malta on Monday (February 21), witnesses said. They were joined by two civilian helicopters with an unknown number of passengers.

Local newspaper reporters saw the single-seater Mirage jets land at Malta's international airport.

Airport sources said two helicopters carrying seven people who said they were French citizens also landed at the airport.

Maltese authorities were checking their identities, the sources said.

A French Foreign Ministry spokesman could not immediately confirm the information as it was still being verified.

The office of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said it was not clear whether the two fighter pilots intended to ask for asylum.

They initially had asked to refuel, it said.

The four-decade-old rule of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been shaken by days of violent protests which reached the capital Tripoli for the first time on Monday.