Gunmen storm Libya parliament, demand its suspension
Monday, May 19, 2014 - 01:27
May 19 - Gunmen storm Libya's parliament demanding the legislature be suspended in an attack claimed by a renegade former army general who has vowed to purge the country of Islamist militants. Sarah Toms reports.
▲ Hide Transcript
▶ View Transcript
Violent scenes in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.
Forces loyal to retired general Khalifa Haftar launched a major air-and-ground attack on Friday to rid the country of Islamist hardliners.
Scores of people have been killed in the clashes over the weekend between these gunmen and government forces.
As the fighting continues here, heavily armed fighters stormed parliament in the capital Tripoli on Sunday, demanding its suspension.
The details are unclear but Haftar loyalists say he also backed that attack.
At this news conference Haftar said he was readying for battle.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RETIRED LIBYAN GENERAL KHALIFA HAFTAR SAYING:
"All the forces are there and they are getting ready. In the military when we launch a battle, it is followed by reorganising our troops, then we return with strength. It is impossible for us to go back on this matter. We will never retreat until we reach our goals."
This is some of the worst fighting since Muammar Gaddafi was removed from power in 2011.
A planned new constitution still remains unwritten, as the authorities struggle to contain militias that control parts of Libya and factions battle to define what kind of state the country should become.
Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code