Source: Libyan pilots defected to Malta
February 21st, 2011
07:42 PM ET

Source: Libyan pilots defected to Malta

Two Libyan Air Force pilots on Monday defected to Malta in apparent protest after being asked to bomb Libyan civilians, a Maltese government source said.

In a separate statement, Malta's government said two Libyan Air Force Mirage F1 single-seat planes landed on the island on Monday afternoon.

"The military aircraft are being held at the Malta International Airport according to usual practices," the statement said. "The two pilots are being held by the police for further investigations."

The pilots requested to land after reporting fuel shortages, according to the statement.

AFP reported that the pair - one of whom it said had requested asylum - told Maltese military officers they were senior colonels.

The Maltese government source said the planes were armed with rockets and loaded machine guns.

- Journalist Natalino Fenech contributed to this report.

soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Cat MacLeod

    Think about the fact that these men probably knew their families would be tortured to death when they made a decision to save 100s of people. That is courage and sacrifice.

    February 22, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bagbest

    Folks, Take a close look at the rocket & bomb racks on the planes.
    They are EMPTY. Looks like the pilots expended the munitions,
    then thought they may not be able to go home AFTER!!!
    No heroes there...

    February 22, 2011 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Zaba

      The outboard hardpoints appear to be fitted with pods for unguided air-to-ground rockets.

      February 22, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. raven

    Hey Bert, Ya dont gotta DEFECT from the United States, Im pretty sure you can just leave .

    February 22, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. syed ahmed

    before he use these missile and rocket,s brit,s and italian should betake is regime enough is enough for mad man he should be shot dead before he use these weapon on civilian

    February 22, 2011 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mr.Victor Shanglon

    Libyan pilots defected to Malta

    Maltese Island will take care of of every human around the world because we have a hearth for every one !! Libyans pilots will be save and they will keep in Malta because they must to be save !!! Reporting from Malta .

    February 22, 2011 at 5:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Theh Ndlovu

    The winds of change. ha ha ha

    February 22, 2011 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. frankwright

    Again, truth and right must be with Gaddafi, after all he is a world leader of “human rights” – an elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, no?!
    Of course he is in the good company of other champions of “human rights” on the council, like Pakistan and Mauritania.

    The only country ever, and repeatedly, condemned by this outrageous council happens to be the minuscule secular democracy of Israel, while the massive horrors of Darfur, Zimbabwe etc. have been completely ignored. Astounding what influence massive Muslim oil wealth will buy, particularly from countries like Russia, China and Cuba who are guilty of colluding with this travesty.

    The people of Libya are now paying the heavy price for that horrific charade at the UN that stands truth, justice and morality on end; who will be next?

    February 22, 2011 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sumiko

    Thank you two Libyan Air Force pilots for not killing people! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. ali

    They should have bombed Ghadaffi first before exiling to Malta.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. ale

    We need to bring the F-111Gs out of retirement for one last mission.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. fineart

    If the tide starts to turn against the brave Libyan people, than I think we as freedom loving people should step in. I know our military is spread thin right now with two wars going on, but we simply cannot just sit here and allow this genocide to take place. We could start by destroying all of the aircraft that the mercenaries arrived in and at the same time destroy all of the combat ships. Thirty Seal and Ranger teams can be droped in to secure certain areas and get or take out Kadafy. We don't have to be concerned with the people since they are calling for help. This operation shouldn't take more than three weeks.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. tourist

    The maltese people are a friendly bunch. Even in the bible they are mentioned as very friendly when they welcomed St Paul to their shores. I am sure that these pilots and all those who make it to their shores will be welcomed. A small island with a big heart

    February 22, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. ed bailey

    If you think the madman of libya needs removal you should examine the government of UTAH. We need house cleaning at home!

    February 22, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. Stein


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