Libya's air force chief of staff says a fighter jet was shot down while carrying out airstrikes against Islamic militants, the third jet to be downed in nearly 40 days.

Brig. Gen. Saqr al-Jaroushi told The Associated Press that a Libyan MIG32 came under fire by militants' anti-aircraft guns in the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday. He says the pilot ejected and landed safely. The pilot has been rescued before in a similar incident on Jan. 4.

Al-Jaroushi said army is investigating whether "terrorists have acquired new weapons capable of shooting down our planes."

The air force answers to the internationally-recognized government in eastern Libya, where forces have been fighting Islamic militants since 2014. In western Libya a rival parliament, backed by Islamist-allied militias, is in control.