France acknowledges ownership of US missiles found with Haftar’s forces in Libya

Libyan soldiers inspected weapons that were confiscated from rebel forces led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter in Gheryan, Libya, last month.CreditCreditIsmail Zitouny/Reuters

France said on Wednesday anti-tank missiles it bought from the United States and were later found in a base belonging to troops loyal to Libya’s Khalifa Haftar were never intended for sale or transfer to any party to Libya’s conflict.

The Army Ministry said the missiles were intended for the “self-protection of a French military unit deployed to carry out intelligence and counter-terrorism operations”.

“Damaged and unusable, the armaments were being temporarily stocked at a depot ahead of their destruction,” the ministry said in a statement.

It is the first time since 2016 that France has publicly acknowledged it still has special forces deployed in Libya. It is not clear how many troops are deployed.

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