Maintenance. We are currently updating the site. Please check back shortly

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Inform - Connect - Empower

Heavy fighting in Libya's Benghazi city; airport hit

Source: Reuters - Sat, 30 Aug 2014 20:38 GMT
Author: Reuters
hum-war
Women take part in a demonstration against the country's parliament and in support of the coalition of fighters called the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, at Freedom Square in Benghazi August 29, 2014. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori
Tweet Recommend Google + LinkedIn Email Print
Leave us a comment

BENGHAZI, Libya, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Heavy clashes broke out between the forces of a renegade general and Islamist fighters in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi on Saturday, killing at least 10 people and showering the airport with rockets, medical and military sources said.

Libya is being racked by factional violence as the armed groups which helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 turn their guns on each other in a struggle to dominate politics and the country's vast oil resources.

In Benghazi, forces of retired general Khalifa Haftar have been fighting Islamist brigades including Ansar al-Sharia, blamed by Washington for an attack on the U.S. consulate in September 2012 in which the U.S. ambassador was killed.

On Saturday, Islamist forces were trying to seize the Benina area, home to a civilian and military airport under the control of Haftar's forces. They have already overrun several army camps this month.

Grad rockets hit the civilian airport, military sources and residents said. At least 10 soldiers from Haftar's forces were killed and 25 wounded, a hospital medic told Reuters.

Western powers worry Libya will become a failed state as a weak central government cannot control the competing armed groups in a country awash with arms.

Senior officials and the elected parliament have relocated to the remote eastern city of Tobruk after effectively losing control of the capital Tripoli, where an alliance of armed groups rules after expelling a rival force.

The new forces controlling Tripoli, led by brigades from the western city of Misrata, have helped install an alternative parliament and prime minister.

In a televised speech, Omar al-Hasi, not recognized as prime minister internationally, said his government wanted to lead Libya out of crisis and seek national reconciliation.

"We reject extremism and terrorism," he said. "I am not with a specific group, party, operation or city but stand for a government for all Libyans."

Adding to the sense of chaos, the Tobruk-based government issued a separate statement, calling on all militias to leave Libya's cities. (Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli, Ahmed Elumami and Feras Bosalum; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Roche)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more information see our Acceptable Use Policy.

comments powered by Disqus
Related Spotlights
Most Popular
TOPICAL CONTENT
Topical content
LATEST SLIDESHOW

Latest slideshow

See allSee all
FEATURED JOBS
Featured jobs