LNA declare no fly zone over Tripoli as US and Italian drones shot down
On 23 November, Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesperson Ahmed al-Mismari announced a “No Fly Zone” (NFZ) over most of the greater Tripoli airspace. The LNA informed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), civilian air transport companies, and all parties that utilize the Libyan airspace not to use the designated area due to it being a military operation zone. This decision intervenes after two drones, an Italian and a US military drone, were taken down over Tripoli.
The LNA’s increasing aerial dominance over Tripoli is giving it additional political leverage within some domestic and international audiences by projecting an image of dominance. It is likely to take credit for any downing of enemy drones (or those linked to the opposing side in the case of Italy), even if it is not actually responsible, as this strengthens this image. Likewise, it is likely that the LNA’s announcement about a NFZ is a move to project power and reinforce the message that it was the LNA which brought down the foreign drones last week, rather than marking a significant ramping up in efforts to shoot down drones or any efforts to target civilian aircraft in the airspace. Nevertheless, the LNA is the dominant aerial power in Tripoli and western Libya at present, and it is possible that it is receiving advanced military support for its current aerial operations from external supporters or foreign mercenaries on the ground.