Two French fighter jets make emergency landing in Malta
Two French fighter jets taking part in the NATO-led campaign in Libya had to make an emergency landing on Malta on Tuesday in the third such incident since the intervention began, the French armed forces confirmed.
An aviation source told the German Press Agency dpa the Air Force Dassault Mirage 2000 aircraft, both of which were carrying live ammunition, were forced to land in the Mediterranean island because of "technical problems".
The pilots obtained clearance to land from Maltese airport authorities.
Armed forces spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard confirmed that two planes had landed in in Malta, "either because of a technical problem or a refuelling problem".
He could not say whether the planes were en route to, or returning from Libya, and whether they were carrying all or a part of their payload, but said the landing was "not exceptional."
The incident is the third involving French jets since the beginning of the military intervention in mid-March.
On April 20 and 23, two pairs of French jets were forced to land in Malta, after running low on fuel.
The French are part of a NATO-led coalition which is imposing a United Nations no-fly zone over Libya and trying to destroy the Moamer Gaddafi's war machinery.
French aircraft are flying sorties from bases in Corsica, southern Italy and an aircraft carrier stationed in the Mediterranean.