A military official in the Libyan capital says a helicopter has been shot down near Tripoli, killing at least 14 of its 23 passengers.

Tripoli Chief of Staff spokesman Col. Ali al-Sheikhi says two high-ranking officers allied to the Islamist-backed Tripoli government were on board.

Al-Sheikhi says the helicopter departed at noon to transport salaries to the town of Surman and was shot down near the Almaya area west of Tripoli. He added that 14 bodies had been retrieved so far and survivors had yet to be found.

Libya has fallen into chaos since the 2011 toppling and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The internationally recognized government is confined to the country's east, while a rival Islamist-led government holds the capital, Tripoli.