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Libya: three soldiers killed in Benghazi

The Libyan army is fighting to expel armed militias from major cities

Published: Updated:

Three Libyan soldiers were killed in renewed clashes with a militia group in the eastern city of Benghazi on Thursday, medical sources said.

“Three soldiers were killed and three wounded soldiers were admitted to the hospital,” said al-Jala hospital spokeswoman Fadia al-Barghathi.

“These victims fell in clashes in the Sidi Khalifa district between the army and an armed group that was trying to enter the city from the east,” the source said, adding that the group’s allegiance was unknown.

Fighting on Monday between the army and members of militant group Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi left at least nine dead before the Islamists retreated from their main base.

Gun battles erupted in parts of the port city in the early hours of Wednesday when members of Ansar al-Sharia threw a grenade at a patrol of special forces, a security official said, according Reuters.

He later said it was not clear who was behind the attack.

In a separate incident, an explosion at a weapons depot in southern Libya killed at least 10 people and wounded 15, AFP reported, citing an official.

General Mohamed al-Dhabi told AFP: “A group of unknown people tried to attack the depot, causing this unfortunate incident” in Brak al-Shati, 650 kilometers (400 miles) south of Tripoli.

State television reported that a group of civilians, among them African immigrants, had been trying to steal the ammunition in order to remove its valuable copper when the explosions occurred.

It said an unspecified number of people had been killed and wounded.

Militias, tribesman and ethnic minorities have seized oilfields and ports to make demands, drying up the main cash flow for the budget, much of which is spent on state subsidies to stave off popular discontent or to buy the loyalty of the militias.

(With AFP and Reuters)