After the Italian General Staff said one of its drones crashed near Tarhouna in Libya, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the Pentagon announced that they had lost contact with an unarmed U.S. Africa Command remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) over Tripoli on last Thursday, in what appears a week of downing drones over western region.
Italy justified the incident with fighting illegal immigration while the US justified it with fighting terrorism.
“RPA operations are conducted in Libya to assess the ongoing security situation and monitor violent extremist activity.” US AFRICOM said in a statement on Friday.
It added that these operations are critical to counter terror activity in Libya and are fully coordinated with appropriate government officials, saying the incident is currently under investigation.
Observers believe that the new technology that is downing aircraft in Libya signal the strong intervention of Russian in the Libyan conflict, which pushed for a bipartisan act by the US Senate “Libya Stabilization Act”.
However, the loss of a US aircraft over Tripoli could be a confession that there are terrorist sleeper cells or active terrorists in the capital and its suburbs, which gives the Libyan National Army a justification to continue its operations to uproot terrorism from Tripoli.