Libya Violence: Benghazi Residents Urged To Leave

Civilians in Benghazi have armed themselves and joined in the fight against Islamist militias
Civilians in Benghazi have armed themselves and joined in the fight against Islamist militias

Libya’s army has asked residents in a central district of the port city of Benghazi to leave before a major military operation against Islamists.

More than 200 people have been killed in Benghazi since the army began a new offensive to retake the city from Islamist militias last month.

The campaign is led by former general Khalifa Haftar who is also reportedly backed by the army.

Libya has been in a state of flux since Colonel Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011.

On Sunday an army spokesperson asked residents of the al-Sabiri district to leave by noon on Monday (10:00 GMT).

Libya is divided between two rival governments, and disparate rebel tribes, militias and political factions are fighting for power over the oil-rich country.

The internationally-recognised and newly-elected government has been forced to flee to the far-eastern city of Tobruk close to the Egyptian border, having been ousted from Tripoli after hostile militias attacked the capital in July.

Islamist groups including Ansar al-Sharia, which is listed by Western countries including the US as a terrorist organisation, have declared a caliphate in the coastal city of Derna.

BBC

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