16 killed in clashes in Libya's Benghazi
A member of the Libyan security forces inspects the destruction at Tripoli international airport in the Libyan capital on July 21, 2014 after Islamist-led militiamen stepped up their assault on the country's main airport, which is controlled by rival fighters. [AFP]
Clashes between Libyan army troops and anti-government militia groups in the eastern city of Benghazi have left 16 people dead and 81 injured.
“Most of the dead and injured are soldiers. Three civilians, including an Egyptian, were killed when a rocket hit their house,” AFP quoted a hospital source as saying.
Fighting broke out on Monday, when militants attacked an army base and clashed with government troops and forces loyal to retired General Khalifa Haftar. Haftar launched a military offensive in the country’s east on May 16, saying that he wants to crush the militants and “establish stability in Libya.”
The event comes after a one-week fighting between rival militia groups for control of the main international airport in the capital, Tripoli, which claimed the lives of at least 47 people. Several airplanes were burned and parts of the airport damaged in the battles, which began on July 13.
Nearly three years after the fall of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is still grappling with rising insecurity as the country has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups.
The former rebels refuse to lay down arms despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.