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Rising Death Toll in Libya Fighting
International

Rising Death Toll in Libya Fighting

Heavy fighting flared on Sunday between Libya’s army and militias apparently trying retake one of their largest camps in the eastern city of Benghazi, military officials said.
At least 130 people have been killed in the past 10 days during street fighting in Libya’s second-largest city -- part of a wider picture of chaos gripping the major oil producer three years after the downfall and death of Muammar Gaddafi, according to Reuters.
The nascent army, backed by forces of a former general and armed youths, launched earlier this month an offensive against Benghazi militias, expelling them from the airport area and the February 17 camp, one of their strongholds in the port city.
But fresh fighting between the army and Ansar al-Sharia -- blamed by Washington on a 2012 attack on the US consulate that killed the American ambassador -- erupted at the university campus and other areas next to the camp. A fire broke out in the university’s main building, a security source said.
Army units also battled militias in other parts of the city, residents said. Families were seen packing up and fleeing, a familiar sight in Benghazi which has been a battlefield since former general Khalifa Haftar declared war on militants in May. He has allied himself with the army.
The struggle is part of a wider conflict in the north African state where former rebels use their guns to fight for power and a share of the country’s oil revenues.
Libya is divided between rival tribes and political factions with two governments vying for legitimacy since an armed group from the western city of Misrata seized Tripoli in August, forcing Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to move to the east.
It is feared that the conflict is dragging the major oil producer towards civil war.

 

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