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Jul 29, 8:36 AM EDT

Fighter jet crashes in restive eastern Libyan city

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CAIRO (AP) -- A Libyan fighter jet has crashed in the restive eastern city of Benghazi amid fighting between Islamist-led militias and forces loyal to a renegade army general.

Mohammed Hegazi, spokesman for Gen. Khalifa Hifter's so-called National Army, says the fighter crashed Tuesday due to a "technical failure" and that the pilot safely escaped by parachute.

However, the official Facebook page of The Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, an umbrella group for Islamist-led militias there, claimed responsibility for the "downing" the fighter jet. It said it came in response to what they described as "tyrant Hifter's and his followers' night flights" bombing their positions.

The crash came amid devastating violence in Libya sparked by clashes between rival militias, prompting many diplomats and foreigners to flee the country.

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