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US missiles found in Libya compound belonged to France

In this Saturday, June 29, 2019 photo, U.S. made Javelin anti-tank missile is displayed in Tripoli, Libya, after being captured from the self-styled Libyan National Army.

HAZEM AHMED/AP

By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: July 10, 2019

PARIS — France's Defense Ministry acknowledged Wednesday that U.S.-made missiles captured from the self-styled Libyan National Army belonged to the French military.

A statement said the missiles were originally intended to protect French anti-terrorism forces in Libya and so did not violate an arms embargo. It said they were damaged and no longer operational, and were put into storage for destruction.

The revelation risks being highly embarrassing for France, which has offered support for LNA leader Khalifa Hifter. Hifter controls much of eastern Libya and is fighting militias in Tripoli loosely allied to a weak, U.N.-backed government. Pro-government fighters seized the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles, UAE-made Yabhon drones, and Russia-made Kornet anti-tank guided missiles in June.

France denied transferring the missiles to Hifter's forces and said the Americans had been informed.

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