Libya: Two civilians killed in Benghazi by botched missile strike
Shadows of Libyan protesters is seen on the national flag during a rally in support of a rogue former general whose forces have launched a "dignity" campaign to crush jihadist militias on May 23, 2014 in Benghazi, eastern Libya. (AFP PHOTO / ABDULLAH DOMA)
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At least two people were killed on Saturday after missiles fired at a Libyan special forces army base missed their target and hit family homes in the city of Benghazi, residents and offcials reported.
The attacks, which took place early Saturday morning, came after a week of intermittent clashes in major Libyan cities Benghazi and Tripoli between forces loyal to a rogue former army general who demands the parliament resigns, and rival militias who oppose him, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.
According to the news agency, it was not immediately clear who was behind the firing of the deadly rockets at the army base in Benghazi but the city is known to be home to Islamist militants who have been targeted by renegade ex-general Khalifa Haftar.
Benghazi residents and army officials reported that two family members were killed and their children were injured after one rocket struck a house. Another family was said to be injured in a second strike, which aimed to hit an army base known to have sympathized with Haftar previously, AFP reported.
"It is not the first time the special forces base and the Benina air base have been targeted since General Haftar announced his operation and the special forces decided to join him," an army official told AFP.
Since the ousting of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed coup in 2011, Libya’s government has struggled to control the brigades of ex-fighters and militiamen who take part in the uprising. They have since emerged as heavily armed rivals who shake the legitimacy of the state.
Haftar, a former Gaddafi ally who parted ways with the dictator in the 1980s, is the latest player to emerge in Libya's network of former fighters struggling to gain control over different areas of the country.
The West has expressed concerns over Haftar’s call for Libyan army units to join his campaign, fearing that this may result in the weak Libyan military splitting and spreading wider turmoil in the restive oil-producing country, according to AFP.