April 14, 2018 / 11:30 AM / 8 days ago

Libya's Haftar treated in Paris after feeling ill on tour: spokesman

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar is being treated in Paris after feeling unwell during a foreign tour and is expected to return to Libya within days, a spokesman said.

FILE PHOTO: Libya's eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar attends General Security conference, in Benghazi, Libya, October 14, 2017. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

“Marshall Haftar felt ill while in Paris, during a visit to several foreign states, and he will return to the homeland soon ... after medical treatment,” Ahmed al-Mismari, a spokesman for Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), told Reuters.

Mismari’s twitter feed also posted messages in English and French saying that Haftar had undergone “normal checkups”, and that he would return to Libya “within a few days to continue the fight against terrorism”.

The previous tweet on the feed, posted late on Tuesday as reports started spreading that Haftar had suffered a health scare, had said that all such news was false and that Haftar was in “excellent health” and commanding his troops.

The reports sparked a flurry of rumors about Haftar’s condition. Anonymous Libyan and French sources said earlier this week that Haftar was in Paris for treatment.

Haftar, 75, is the dominant figure in eastern Libya and has long been seen as a likely contender for power nationally.

His LNA is aligned with a government based in the east which has opposed a rival, internationally backed government in the capital, Tripoli.

On Friday, U.N. Libya envoy Ghassan Salame and several Libyan officials said they had spoken to Haftar by phone.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli, writing by Aidan Lewis, editing by Clelia Oziel

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