Libya’s Hafter Got Influx of Secret Cargo Deliveries at Start of Tripoli Offensive

Planes made rounds to Egypt, Israel, and Jordan before landing in Libya

In early April, Libya’s Khalifa Hafter attacked the capital city of Tripoli. While he was known to have designs on taking more power, it was not generally believed that he had the military assets in his self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA). So where did they come from?

Unsurprisingly, it looks like a UN’s ban on arms imports to Libya was once again not particularly effective. Flight data showed a pair of specific cargo planes making trips to LNA-held military bases in early April in an attempt to be very covert.

The planes are owned by Reem Travel, a UAE-Kazakh company, and those planes had made a series of trips between Israel, Jordan, and Egypt before they ended up in Hafter territory, dropping off a large number of crates.

It’s not clear what was in the crates, but the planes in question turned off their transponders as soon as they entered Libyan airspace, apparently to try to avoid UN oversight of the sanctions. Satellite images showed two planes at LNA bases,.

Hafter’s forces don’t seem to have been conscious of this being covert either, issuing a video showing one of the cargo planes on the ground at their Tamanhant base, near Benghazi, with a large number of 64kg crates being removed via forklift.

Egypt and the UAE are both openly backing Hafter to take over Libya. Saudi Arabia is also endorsing Hafter, and reportedly paid Hafter for the Tripoli attack. Though Hafter has a known history of working with the CIA, the Trump Administration initially was not advocating the Tripoli attack, though a call from the Saudis quickly changed Trump’s mind, and he’s now praising Hafter.

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.