21 Feb '11, 9pm

Italy on alert as fleeing Libyan fighter jets land in Malta

Italy on alert as fleeing Libyan fighter jets land in Malta

ROME: Italy put its air bases on maximum alert on Monday after two Libyan air force colonels fled to the Mediterranean island of Malta in fighter jets saying they had refused orders to bomb protesters. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who had been reticent to criticise veteran Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, also condemned the "unacceptable" use of violence against civilians and said he was "alarmed" at the turmoil in Libya. The violence in Libya also sent shockwaves through the Italian stock market, which dropped 3.59 percent as some of Italy's biggest companies have extensive Libyan capital or major investments in the north African state. Meanwhile authorities in Malta said they were holding two Libyan pilots who landed earlier on Monday for questioning after the men said they were forced to flee their base in eastern Benghazi when it was taken over by protesters. "One o...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/111...

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