Last Update 21:11
Thursday, 19 September 2019

Libyan commander killed as offensive against Islamists stalls

Reuters , Thursday 16 Jul 2015
libya
Black smoke billows in the sky above areas where clashes are taking place between pro-government forces, who are backed by the locals, and the Shura Council of Libyan Revolutionaries, an alliance of former anti-Gaddafi rebels (Photo: Reuters)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 853
Share/Bookmark
Views: 853

Islamic State militants said they killed a Libyan army commander in the eastern city of Benghazi on Wednesday, as a pro-government offensive against the Islamists appeared to stall.

Forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government have been fighting Islamist groups in the country's second-largest city for over a year, part of a wider struggle since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011.

Army forces backed by armed residents have regained some of the territory in Benghazi lost last year. But critics say their air strikes and artillery have pounded parts of Benghazi into rubble without gaining much ground.

New clashes erupted on Wednesday in the Lithi district, a stronghold of militant Islamists. During the fighting, Salem al-Naili, the commander of a special forces brigade, and another soldier were killed, army officials said. Four more soldiers were wounded.

Islamic State, which has expanded in Libya by exploiting a vacuum as two governments vie for control, claimed responsibility on social media for Naili's killing.

Islamic State and other militant groups have been getting support from groups in Tunisia, Algeria, Chad, Nigeria and Sudan, a top army commander told reporters after meeting with senior commanders in Marj town east of Benghazi.

Asked when the Benghazi battle would be finished, the commander, Khalifa Haftar, said: "I cannot give a date but it will be very soon."

U.N. Special Envoy Bernardino Leon disputed that. "In Benghazi, clashes ... continue with neither side making significant gains," he told the U.N Security Council.

The fighting for Benghazi highlights the chaos in Libya, where armed groups back two governments vying for control. The official prime minister has been based in the east since the capital, Tripoli, was seized by a rival group which set up its own government.

Both sides command loose coalitions of former anti-Gaddafi rebels. After Gaddafi's ouster, the various factions split along political, regional and tribal lines.

Islamic State has exploited the chaos by taking over several towns, executing foreigners and launching attacks against embassies in Tripoli.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.