(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
President Francois Hollande confirmed Wednesday that three French soldiers on board a helicopter in eastern Libya were killed.
Hollande has called it an “accident” contradicting Defend Benghazi Brigade (DBB)’s statement who claim they shot down the helicopter. DBB said the helicopter carrying the French troops belonged to General Khalifa Haftar who they oppose.
“At this moment we are carrying out dangerous intelligence operations (in Libya),” Hollande said in his statement about the deaths.
Hollande made no reference to the allegations that his country is working with Haftar despite Haftar refusing to recognize the UN-backed government in Tripoli.
The Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli questioned the presence of French troops on its soil without the GNA’s permission. The French have violated Libya’s sovereignty by allowing its special forces into Libya said the GNA in a statement posted on its Facebook page.
The GNA said it is open to working with foreign “nations in the fight against Daesh (ISIS)” in Sirte, however, nations interested in helping Libya should not intervene without a request from the GNA.
In many Libyan cities hundreds of Libyans went out into the streets to protest French troops on Libyan soil.
A photo from one of the demonstrations held showed two young girls holding placards denouncing French troops in Libya. One a placard read, “Hollande get your hands off Libya” and the other read “Francois Hollande is supporting terrorism in Benghazi”.