News / Middle East

Islamist Militants Seize Libyan Army Base in Benghazi

Benghazi, Libya
Benghazi, Libya
VOA News

After days of fighting, Islamist groups in Libya have seized the headquarters of the Libyan special forces in the eastern city of Benghazi.

An Islamist and jihadist alliance called the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council announced the capture of the main military base in the eastern city in a statement Wednesday.  A Libyan army official has also confirmed the takeover.

Ansar al-Sharia, which Washington has listed as a terrorist organization, is part of the fighting alliance.  It posted pictures on its Facebook page of dozens of weapons it claims it seized during the assault.

About 60 people have died in the violence around Benghazi since Saturday.  A special forces officer had told the Reuters news agency Tuesday that their forces had to abandon their posts in the southeast of Benghazi after the Islamist coalition launched a heavy attack.

FILE - Black smoke billows over the skyline as a fire at the oil depot for the airport rages out of control, in Tripoli, July 28, 2014.FILE - Black smoke billows over the skyline as a fire at the oil depot for the airport rages out of control, in Tripoli, July 28, 2014.
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FILE - Black smoke billows over the skyline as a fire at the oil depot for the airport rages out of control, in Tripoli, July 28, 2014.
FILE - Black smoke billows over the skyline as a fire at the oil depot for the airport rages out of control, in Tripoli, July 28, 2014.

Meanwhile, Tripoli's airport remains closed after two weeks of fighting nearby.  Authorities say a fire continued to burn near the airport after a rocket struck a fuel tank and the fire spread to a second storage site.

Clashes for control of the airport have raged since July 13.  Dozens have died.

 

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