[File Photo: Clashes in Benghazi]
BENGHAZI, (Xinhua): Seventy-nine people were killed and 141 more injured after heavy fighting broke out Friday between two militants groups in Libya’s second largest city of Benghazi, an official at the Ministry of Health confirmed Sunday.
Retired Major General Khalifa Haftar led his self-proclaimed ” national army” into Libya’s second largest city of Benghazi at dawn Friday, shelling many Islamist militant bases, including Ansar Al-Sharia’s and February 17 Brigade’s compound, claiming his maneuvers were meant to purge the city from “terrorists.”
Libya’s prime minister, parliament speaker and army high command issued the statement on Saturday night against former Major General Khalifa Haftar’s offensive maneuvers towards Benghazi.
The interim parliament’s General National Congress website published the statement, saying the violence in Benghazi is to ” pursue Haftar’s personal gains and turn against the state legitimacy.” It called on Benghazi citizens to stay away from ” those who are staging the coup.”
Haftar, a retired major general, led his self-proclaimed ” national army” into Libya’s second largest city Benghazi at dawn on Friday, shelling many Islamist militant bases, including Ansar Al-Sharia’s and February 17 Brigade’s compound, leaving at least 37 people dead and about 140 wounded.
He claimed his maneuvers were to purge the city from ” terrorists”, but the interim government defined it as a “coup” and asked him to exercise self-control and “resist any temptation to intrude.”
Also on Saturday the Libyan interim government set up a no-fly zone in an attempt to restrain Haftar’s air forces after he threatened to launch more air strikes.