Seven Libyan troops killed in attacks near Benghazi

Thu Oct 2, 2014 21:45:39

even Libyan soldiers were killed and 50 wounded in a double suicide bombing and clashes in the eastern city of Benghazi on Thursday, an army commander said.

According to Wanis Bukhamada, commander of the Libyan army’s special forces in Benghazi, two car bombs hit an army checkpoint near the airport on Thursday, leaving three soldiers dead.

Another four were killed in fighting with Ansar al-Sharia militants in the same area, he added.

Authorities said the injured soldiers were taken to hospital in the town of al-Marj, 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Benghazi.

The development comes as a hospital medic put the death toll at 12.

Militants from the Shura Revolutionary Council, which includes Ansar al-Sharia group, launched a fresh attack on the Benina International Airport on Wednesday.

The militants have already taken control of army bases in Benghazi.

The airport is the last remaining stronghold of forces loyal to the former general, Khalifa Haftar, who has launched a military offensive against militants, vowing to crush them and “establish stability in Libya.”

General Sagr al-Jerushi, an aide to Haftar, said warplanes and helicopters have been used to stand off militants advances on the airport.

Libyan authorities have denounced Haftar’s attack as a “coup” bid.

Libya plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled the longtime ruler, Muammar Gaddafi. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militants and deep political divisions.

The country has recently been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militant groups that refuse to lay down arms.