Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) 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 Qaddafi 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.
ISIS, which has expanded in Libya by exploiting a vacuum as two governments vie for control, claimed responsibility on social media for Naili's killing.
ISIS 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.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر