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U.S. NAVY DENIES CHARGE IT VIOLATED LIBYAN AIRSPACE

SHARE U.S. NAVY DENIES CHARGE IT VIOLATED LIBYAN AIRSPACE

Libya has accused the U.S. military of violating its airspace, but the Navy fleet in the region denied the charge Thursday.

Libya's civil aviation authorities protested to the International Air Transport Association, accusing the U.S. 6th Fleet of violating the "aerial zone of Tripoli," Libya's official news agency said today.The agency report, which was monitored in Rome, did not say when the alleged violation occurred or give any other details.

Tensions have been rising between Tripoli and Washington, following accusations by U.S. and British judicial authorities that two Libyan intelligence agents took part in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland. The blast killed 270 people.

The British and American authorities seek the extradition of the two men, but Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has refused to surrender them, saying Tripoli is investigating whether they were involved in the terror attack.

Lt. Greg Smith, spokesman for the 6th Fleet based in Gaeta, Italy, said the only U.S. military craft in the area is the USS America, which "is conducting routine flight operations in international airspace in the central Mediterranean."

"No violation of any nation's airspace has occurred," Lt. Smith said. He said the carrier, which is based in Norfolk, Va., has been in the central Mediterranean on routine deployment since early December.