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MALTA: Two Libyan fighter jets seen landing

February 21, 2011 |  8:01 am

Two Libyan fighter jets landed unexpectedly in Malta on Monday, witnesses told Reuters.

Local newspaper reporters saw the single-seater Mirage jets land at Malta's international airport on Monday afternoon, Reuters reported. The Maltese Foreign Ministry said it was trying to establish why the planes had landed.

The Al Jazeera satellite network reported the Libyan fighter jets were seen landing in Malta with two civilian helicopters. At least seven passengers were aboard, only one reported to be carrying a passport, according to Al Jazeera. All of the  passengers were being held by immigration officials, the network reported. Al Jazeera's Karl Stagno-Novarra, reporting from Malta, said officials on the Mediterranean island were preparing for it to be used as a base for evacuating European citizens from Libya, an hour's flight away.

The four-decade-old rule of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi has been shaken by days of violent protests which reached the capital Tripoli for the first time on Monday, according to Reuters.

--  Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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