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Maltese report Maltese report
by Euro Reporter
2011-02-24 09:58:18
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Air Malta Tripoli flight cancelled because of congestion

An Air Malta flight to Tripoli was cancelled this evening because of operational reasons, an airline spokesman said. Informed sources said the cancellation was forced on the airline because of acute congestion at Tripoli airport. The airport is not accepting any more flights because aircraft have occupied every part of the tarmac.

The sources said some flights on their way to Tripoli may be diverted to Malta. Air Malta operated a flight from Tripoli early this afternoon and plans to operate another one tomorrow.


Moammar Kadafi's daughter reportedly attempts to fly to Malta

Moammar Kadafi's daughter attempted to leave Libya for Malta before being turned away Wednesday, Al Jazeera English reported. Aicha Kadafi was aboard a small aircraft carrying 14 people and circled for 45 minutes until officials turned her away, government officials in Malta told Al Jazeera.

Kadafi is known to be being particularly close to her father and told London's Sunday Telegraph in October that "people forget that before he is a great man and leader, he is also my father, my friend and my brother. He is very close to me, and I feel so safe when I am with him. My love for him is beyond description, and we spend as much time as possible together."

She is a lawyer who joined the defense team for Saddam Hussein and gave an award through her charity group to Muntather Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at former President George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference in 2008.


Parliament to discuss divorce today

A House Business Committee held yesterday, this time without TV cameras and with harmony between government and Opposition, agreed that the debate on the motion regarding a referendum on the introduction of divorce, which begins in the House today, must end on Wednesday 16 March with a vote at 1pm.

Leader of the House Tonio Borg also informed the HBC that he and Prime Minister Gonzi will be on an official visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories from next Monday to Friday.


Security services interviewing Libyan Colonels

The two Libyan Colonels who defected to Malta in Mirage supersonic jets are still being interviewed by the security services.

It has also been learned that the fighters – not quite top-notch aircraft, but still potent weapons – remain the property of Libya. However, it is understood that they will remain impounded until the situation in North Africa settles, a high-ranking Army source said. It has also been learned that, while the two high-ranking officers (incidentally the same rank as Col Gadaffi) have applied for political asylum, the Geneva Convention does not provide for military personnel to do so. It is also understood that the two men’s application will be decided on by the Refugee Commissioner, and it also remains to be seen whether the two men will be liable to automatic detention, as has been the case with other asylum seekers.

Meanwhile, AFM sources have told this newspaper that the jets, recently refurbished under an agreement signed by Gaddafi and Nikolas Sarkozy, broke out of formation when their squadron was ordered to attack Libyan civilians. The aircraft were armed with rocket pods – a deadly anti-personnel weapon.  While it is not yet known whether the two Colonels were in command of the mission and whether they encouraged their fellow pilots to make for Malta, it has been established that the two aircraft peeled off and dove for the deck. They flew below 500 feet to avoid detection while in Libyan airspace – presumably both out of fear of surface-to-air missiles being launched from Libya and also to lose the rest of the squadron. It is understood that the flight, which takes about 40-45 minutes on a commercial jet liner, took only six to nine minutes in the Mirages, as afterburners were engaged. In pilot talk, as one source put it, they “bunted, dove for the deck, hit the afterburners and screamed towards Malta”.

There are two accounts of how the aircraft made contact. Some sources say they requested emergency landing clearance as they were out of fuel (Malta is obliged to acquisce), while others said that the planes landed in formation and only announced their arrival when they set down on the tarmac on the commercial runway.

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