BENGHAZI, Libya, June 5 Libya's outgoing premier
Abdullah al-Thinni travelled on Thursday to the eastern city of
Benghazi, hit by heavy fighting between irregular forces and
Islamists for the last three weeks.
Public life in the port city, a base for oil firms, has
largely come to a standstill since renegade general Khalifa
Haftar declared war on the Islamist militias, saying the
government had failed to tackle them. Tripoli has denounced
Haftar as trying to stage a coup.
More than 100 people have been killed in almost daily
clashes, sometimes involving helicopters or warplanes and
hitting residential districts. Universities have been mostly
closed and many residents have been hiding indoors.
With a no-fly zone in place, Prime Minister Abdullah
al-Thinni and several ministers had to fly to Abraq airport 200
km (120 miles) east of Benghazi and travel from there by car.
"We came to Benghazi to support the city's residents,
special forces and security forces," Thinni told Reuters during
the visit. "We know what the special forces need in terms of
weapons and ammunition."
He said wounded people would be sent abroad for treatment.
Local hospitals have asked for blood donations because of the
large number of casualties.
Libya is threatened with chaos, as government and parliament
are unable to control militias, armed tribesmen and Islamists
who helped overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but now defy state
The country currently has two prime ministers. Last month
parliament voted into office Ahmed Maiteeq in an election
disputed by some lawmakers and officials. Thinni has refused to
hand over power until courts review the election process.
(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli and Feras Bosalum; Writing by
Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Roche)