Libya’s Hafter Threatens to Target Civilian Planes Over Tripoli

Says capital is under an effective 'no-fly zone'

Gen. Khalifa Hafter, the head of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) and a former CIA asset, is continuing his attempts to take over Libya militarily, with an eye toward seizing the capital city of Tripoli from the Government of National Accord (GNA).

With attention turning again to fighting in and around Tripoli, Hafter has announced that he is imposing a “no-fly zone” in Tripoli and the surrounding area, and is threatening to target civilian planes flying in that airspace.

The GNA reported that the recently attacked airport had just been reopened, and called on the UN to do something to ensure that civilian aviation is allowed to continue in the area.

The no-fly zone threat reflects a surprising level of confidence in Hafter’s camp, as threatening civilian aircraft would generally be a costly move diplomatically. His faction is heavily supported around the region, however, and Hafter likely believes that support runs deep enough that it could stand a shootdown or 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.