- Associated Press
Thursday, April 12, 2018

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) - Libya‘s strongman Khalifa Hifter was flown to France for medical treatment, officials said Thursday, amid conflicting reports on his condition and whereabouts.

The officials said only that Hifter suffered a “medical issue” and was taken from Jordan to France to be hospitalized. They added that his health is now stable. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Conflicting reports from Libyan media surfaced Wednesday, with various outlets saying he suffered a lung problem, a stroke, was in a coma or was not at risk but would remain under medical supervision for days.

The spokesman of the self-styled Libyan National Army, Ahmed al-Mesmari, criticized the reports saying that Hifter is in “excellent health” and is carrying out his duties normally.

Hifter, 75, is the commander of the LNA and a powerful figure in the east, touting himself as the champion against Islamic militants in Libya.

Libya descended into chaos after the 2011 uprising that evolved in a ruinous civil war, toppling and later killing longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The country is now split between governments in the east and the west. Hifter is allied with the east-based administration but is at odds with the U.N.-backed government based in the capital, Tripoli.

Hifter returned to Libya during the uprising from a nearly 20-year exile in the United States. He is supported by neighboring Egypt which shares his strong stance against Islamic militancy.

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