400 Killed in 6 Weeks of Benghazi Fighting

400 Killed in 6 Weeks  of Benghazi Fighting 400 Killed in 6 Weeks  of Benghazi Fighting

About 400 people have been killed in six weeks of heavy fighting between Libyan pro-government forces and militia groups in Libya’s second-largest city Benghazi, medical staff said on Saturday.

Backed by forces led by a former general, the newly formed government army launched in mid-October an offensive against Benghazi militias, expelling them from the airport area and from several camps the army had lost during the summer, according to Reuters.

In the past three weeks the fighting has centered around Benghazi’s commercial port where pro-government forces say the militias are holed up. The port has had to close, disrupting food supplies in the eastern city.

The fighting in Benghazi is part of wider turmoil in the North African country. Two governments, each with their own parliament and army chief of staff are vying for legitimacy, three years after the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi.

In August, Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni and his cabinet were forced to leave Tripoli for the east of Libya when group called Libya Dawn seized the capital.

The new rulers set up their own government and parliament, but these have not been recognized by the United Nations and world powers.

The situation has been complicated by the Benghazi fighting where former general Khalifa Haftar has merged his force with the army under a mandate from the elected parliament, which is allied to Thinni and also operates out of the east.

Haftar’s forces have planes from Libya’s outdated air force though his opponents say he is backed by Egypt which is worried about the spread of militants. Haftar denies this.