Daesh militants forced out of Benghazi in Libya

Published February 24th, 2016 - 03:30 GMT
A member of the Libyan army stands on a tank as heavy black smoke rises from the city's port during clashes against Islamist gunmen in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on December 23, 2014. (AFP/Abdullah Doma)
A member of the Libyan army stands on a tank as heavy black smoke rises from the city's port during clashes against Islamist gunmen in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on December 23, 2014. (AFP/Abdullah Doma)

Relieved residents have been celebrating in Benghazi after militants were forced out of parts of the eastern Libyan city by forces loyal to the internationally recognised government.

The victory for supporters of military commander Khalifa Haftar, a leading figure in the 2011 revolution, comes despite fears over Daesh's expanded presence in Libya, exploiting the security vacuum left when Colonel Gaddafi was toppled.

Benghazi has seen some of the worst violence in the conflict that has plagued Libya ever since. The country still has two rival administrations although a UN-backed plan for a future unity government is starting to take shape.

In the meantime, the US special envoy to the coalition fighting Daesh, Brett McGurk, warned on Tuesday that the group is trying to attract as many foreign fighters to Libya as possible.

A US air strike hit a suspected training camp last week and McGurk says the United States won't hesitate to act in the face of other threats there.


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