Cargo plane handed over to Libya rebelsBENGHAZI - A Libyan cargo plane seized by authorities in the United Arab Emirates was handed over to rebel forces in their eastern bastion of Benghazi, a rebel official told AFP on Thursday.
The four-engine Ilyushin-76TD aircraft arrived in Benghazi on Wednesday, said Colonel Abdel Nasser Bousnina.
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"This aircraft was owned by the Libyan government, more precisely by the International Airlines Group, controlled by a public investment fund" of the regime of Moamer Kadhafi, Bousnina said.
"It was seized by the authorities in Dubai, and handed over to representatives of the NTC" (National Transitional Council), the rebels' de facto government.
"This equipment is now in the air force of the rebellion. This is the first cargo plane we have, and will be used to transport humanitarian aid from abroad to Libya," said the officer, welcoming this "success".
Last week, the rebels seized an oil tanker owned by the regime, together with 37,000 tonnes of fuel.
The Cartagena was captured in the Mediterranean with NATO help while en route from Malta to Libya, rebel officials said. It is now docked in the port of Benghazi.
(c) 2011 AFP
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