Israel received three F-35 stealth fighter jets from the United States at the weekend – a new generation of “near-invisible” planes that critics fear will free the country’s hand to launch air strikes and spying operations against neighbouring states undetected. In total, Israel has bought 50 F-35s from manufacturer Lockheed Martin, and claims it will have the first squadron combat-ready before the end of the year. It is the first country outside the US to be allowed access to the warplane, said to be the most expensive ever developed. The F-35’s main selling point is its advanced stealth capabilities, reportedly allowing it to evade even the most sophisticated antiaircraft missile systems. Lockheed describes the plane as “virtually invisible”.
A prominent anti-corruption activist was one of four people killed in an explosion in Libya’s second city of Benghazi, in the east of the strife-torn country, officials said on Sunday. “An explosion caused by a mortar shell occurred in the Al Kish neighbourhood” of Benghazi, said Mohamad Al Azumi, a spokesman for forces allied with controversial Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. He said the shell hit a group of cars, sparking the blast. A medical official said the explosion on Saturday night killed four people and wounded 23 others, all of them civilians including “the well-known anti-corruption activist Mohamad Bugaighis.” Another source in the forces loyal to Haftar said the shell stuck near the headquarters of a brigade located in an area also known for its cafes and shops. The origin of the mortar round was unknown, said the source. Bugaighis was known for his support of the idea that Haftar be made commander of the Libyan national army, as well as his opposition to militants. For two and a half years, Benghazi has seen bloody battles between loyalist forces led by Haftar and armed groups including militants from the Daesh group and Ansar Al Sharia, which is close to Al Qaeda.