5 Killed as Libyan Forces, Islamist Fighters Clash in Benghazi

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BENGHAZI—At least five people were killed and 35 wounded in clashes

between Libyan pro-government forces and Islamist fighters in

Benghazi, medics and military officials said.

Army special forces and troops led by former general Khalifa Haftar

have been fighting to oust Islamist groups in the eastern coastal city

since October and have managed to retake the airport area and army

camps that were seized in August.

Islamist groups have managed to retain some control over the port and

the Lithi residential area.

The fighting is part of a wider struggle for control of the North

African country which sits on Africa's largest oil reserves. Former

rebel groups which helped topple Moammar Gadhafi in a 2011,

NATO-backed uprising now fight each other.

In August, Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni and his cabinet were

forced out of Tripoli when a group called Libya Dawn seized the

capital and they now operate from Bayda, east of Benghazi.

A new administration, not recognized internationally, has been set up

in Tripoli.

Areas under control

Fadhal al-Hassi, a senior officer in Haftar's forces, said that

pro-government forces moved into the Lithi district, where Islamist

groups including Ansar al-Sharia are still mostly in control,

according to military officials.

Medics at one Benghazi hospital told a Reuters reporter that at least

five bodies had been brought in since the morning and that more

casualties were expected as fighting is still raging. About 500 people

have been killed since October, medics say.

Security and the political situation in Libya has been complicated by

the Benghazi fighting, where Haftar has merged his forces with the

army under a mandate from the elected parliament, which is allied to


Libya Dawn says Haftar is attacking residential areas with aircraft

and artillery, aided by Egypt. Both deny this.

Egypt's army toppled elected President Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and has

cracked down on his Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Credit: Reuter

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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