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Sat 19 Mar 2011 12:00 PM

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Fighter jet shot down over rebel-held Benghazi

Reuters correspondent sees stricken plane plummet to earth in flames over rebel-held city

Fighter jet shot down over rebel-held Benghazi
Smoke billows after a Libyan jet bomber crashed after being shut down in Benghazi on March 19, 2011 as Libyas rebel stronghold came under attack, with at least two air strikes and sustained shelling of the citys south sending thick smoke into the sky. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A fighter jet was shot down on Saturday over the rebel-held Libyan city of Benghazi, a Reuters witness said.

"I saw the plane circle around, come out of the clouds, head towards an apparent target, and then it was hit and went straight down in flames and a huge billow of black smoke went up," Reuters correspondent Angus MacSwan said.

"It seems it was attacking the Benghazi military barracks."

Libyan government forces are involved in no military action in or around the eastern rebel-held city of Benghazi, a government spokesman said on Saturday.

"There are no attacks whatesover on Benghazi. As we said, we are observing the ceasefire and we want international observers to come," Mussa Ibrahim, the spokesman, told Reuters.

"There are rebels attacking villages and towns trying to instigate outside military intervention."

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