Haftar forces lose US and Chinese materiel to Tripoli government

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Forces allied to Libya’s internationally recognised government in Tripoli captured sophisticated US and Chinese rockets and drones when they seized a town from eastern forces last week, officials said.

Last Wednesday, Tripoli’s forces took Gharyan, south of the capital, which eastern forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar used as main supply base to attack Tripoli.

Officials showed journalists weapons they said were seized, among them sophisticated US-made Javelin anti-tank missiles.

They showed advanced Chinese-made laser-guided artillery shells and said combat drones were also captured, in addition to about 150 prisoners.

Inscriptions on Javelin missiles indicated they originally belonged to the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates, one of Haftar’s main backers.

UN reports previously said the UAE and Egypt armed Haftar’s Libya National Army (LNA) since 2014.

Oded Berkowitz, Israeli security analyst and deputy chief intelligence officer of the MAX consultancy, said it was the first time Javelins were sighted in the Libya conflict.

“The weapons are highly advanced but wouldn’t be a game changer in Libya,” he said. “The real political game changer is that advanced US systems were delivered to a third party and this may push the US to oppose the UAE and their support for the LNA.”