Forces led by Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar announced early Tuesday that they have taken control of 75 percent of Derna city.
Ahmed al-Mesmari, a spokesman for the forces, which are backed by Libya’s Tobruk-based parliament, said at a news conference that clashes with the Derna Protection Forces (DPF), formerly known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council, were ongoing as part of the Derna operation.
Late Monday, Haftar said the second phase of the operation had been launched.
Three people from the Haftar-led forces were killed while 13 others were injured, according to a local source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Muhammad al-Mansuri, spokesman for the DPF, said six of their members had lost their lives during the clashes.
In early May, Haftar, announced the launch of a military offensive to capture Libya's northeastern city of Derna.
On May 17, armed clashes erupted between Haftar-led forces and the DPF in the vicinity of the city, causing deaths and injuries on both sides.
On May 28, the Haftar-led forces declared that they had taken control of the highest area which directly overlooks Bab Tobruk district in Derna along with a few more areas.
Derna was captured by the Shura Council of Mujahideen after the expulsion of Daesh from the city in 2014.
The Shura Council of Mujahideen in Derna was formed in December 2014 with a view to confronting pro-Haftar forces, who since then have imposed a blockade on the city.
While Libyan Islamic political figures have criticized the Haftar-commanded military operation in Derna, the UN-backed unity government sees it as threatening the lives of civilians in the city.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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