ISIS Claims Downing of Libyan MiG-23 Over Benghazi

Second Libyan Warplane Shot Down This Week

On Monday, the Libyan military lost a MiG-23ML over the city of Derna, when it was shot down by one of the local Islamist factions. Today, they’ve lost another over Benghazi, amid another bombing campaign against Islamist forces.

ISIS is claiming credit for today’s shoot-down, though interestingly the warplane was bombing the Mujahedeen Shura Council, a separate faction that is seen more close to al-Qaeda than to ISIS. The military insists that the pilot again parachuted to safety, though they said they aren’t sure where he is now.

Unclear from the reports is how the plane was shot down. Monday’s plane was hit by stationary anti-aircraft guns, but ISIS is also believed to have access to a lot of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.

The planes were under the control of the Tobruk-based parliament faction, which controls most of what’s left of the old Libyan Air Force. Though MiG-23s were a big part of Libya’s air power in the past, they were only believed to have four left at the start of this week, and thus are now down to two.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.