Monday, February 9, 2015

Nine Dead, 35 Wounded in Armed Clashes in Benghazi


TRIPOLI – At least nine people died and 35 others were wounded over the past few hours in fighting between rival Libyan militias in different neighborhoods in the eastern city of Benghazi, a source with the local Medical Center told Efe.

Six of the dead were soldiers and civilians – including an Egyptian citizen – who were killed by rockets.

The fighting broke out late Saturday and lasted through the night, a police official in Benghazi said, adding that forces allied with Gen. Khalifa Hafter bombarded Islamist positions there.

Hafter, who is supported by the internationally recognized parliament established in Tobruk, conducted air attacks with rockets that hit the Al Sabri neighborhood, apparently killing Faisal al-Tayuri, a commander of the Islamist militias, the source added.

Two other Islamist fighters died in clashes in Benghazi, he said.

The former general, who supported dictator Muammar Gaddafi and then became one of his biggest opponents in exile, has heavy artillery and air assets at his disposal, not to mention the support of the regular Libyan army.

Last May and October, he launched military operations with the aim of wiping out the Islamist militias controlling eastern Libya, thus weakening the power of the rebel parliament installed in Tripoli.

In recent weeks, however, the general has broadened his offensive to several cities near Benghazi and into the western portion of the country, where he is also attacking positions of the Islamist Libya Dawn movement and its allies.

Libya has been mired in chaos and civil war since October 2011, when NATO began supporting anti-Gaddafi rebels, ultimately resulting in the toppling of the Gaddafi regime.


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