US drone shot down in Benghazi, LNA claims responsibility

Aug 22, 2022 | International actors

On 22 August, a US drone, identified as a MQ-9 Reaper, was shot down near Benghazi. According to a US Africa Command (AFRICOM) spokesperson, Lieutenant Commander Timothy Pietrack, the aircraft was operating in support of US Ambassador and Special Envoy to Libya, Richard Norland’s engagements in Benghazi, and was conducting reconnaissance of the area ahead of forthcoming diplomatic meetings. Pietrack insisted that the US had coordinated the drone’s operation schedule with the appropriate Libyan authorities, i.e. the Libyan National Army (LNA). However, the LNA claimed responsibility for downing a US drone in Benghazi, stating that the drone had not received prior permission and had violated Libyan airspace. LNA Spokesman, Ahmed al-Mismari, issued a statement claiming that the drone was carrying two missiles and suggested that its goal may have been to strike the headquarters of the LNA’s General Command. AFRICOM did not specify whether the drone was armed, but has opened an investigation to determine the cause of the incident.