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Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar admitted to Paris hospital

AFP Archive | Khalifa Haftar during a visit to Tunisia on September 18, 2017.

Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar has been admitted to a Paris hospital after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage and losing consciousness in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, FRANCE 24 has learned.

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The commander of the self-styled national army in eastern Libya was rushed to the Jordanian capital of Amman after losing consciousness and was later transferred to a Paris hospital, according to FRANCE 24’s Libya correspondent Mohamed Najm.

News of Haftar’s hospitalisation in Paris emerged Tuesday, when veteran French journalist Vincent Hugeux said the controversial Libyan strongman had been admitted to Val-de-Grâce, a well-known military hospital in Paris, in a Twitter post that cited an unnamed "reliable" source.

However, a spokesman for Haftar’s self-styled army told the Libyan Al-Nabaa TV station that Haftar was fine and in good condition. The spokesman denied all reports of Haftar suffering a stroke or a heart attack.

The 75-year-old warlord, who served in the Libyan army under former strongman Muammar Gaddafi, is powerful in country’s eastern Cyrenaica region where his forces have seized control of some of Libya’s main oil terminals.

Gaddafi’s fall during the 2011 Arab uprisings triggered chaos in the oil-rich nation with rival rebel groups seizing control of pockets of the vast North African country.

Disputed elections in 2014 saw the country effectively split between competing powers in the capital, Tripoli, and the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk. Over the past few years, Haftar has expanded his hold over vast swathes of eastern Libya and has warned that the country is not ready for democracy despite UN plans to hold elections later this year.

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