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Islamist militants attack army base in Libya's Benghazi
July 21, 2014 / 2:26 PM / 3 years ago

Islamist militants attack army base in Libya's Benghazi

BENGHAZI, Libya, July 21 (Reuters) - Islamist militants attacked an army base in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Monday, triggering fierce clashes involving helicopters and jets that killed at least one person and wounding 20 others, sources said.

A week of fighting between rival militias for control of Tripoli International Airport in the capital has killed at least 47 people and prompted the government to appeal for international help to stop Libya becoming a failed state.

Tripoli was calmer on Monday, but in Benghazi, militants linked to Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia attacked an army camp and were repelled by troops and forces loyal to renegade retired general Khalifa Haftar, who has been carrying out a self-declared war on Islamist fighters, security sources said.

“Ansar al-Sharia tried to take over one special forces camp, but the special forces and Hafter’s forces fought back, using helicopters and military aircraft in their attack,” one source said.

Since the 2011 civil war that toppled autocrat Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s fragile government and new army have been unable to assert authority over rival brigades of former rebels fighting for political and economic influence.

The clash over Tripoli airport has stopped most international flights, damaged more than a dozen planes parked at the airport and prompted the United Nations to pull its staff out of the country due to security concerns. (Reporting by Feras Bosalum and Ayman Al-Warfalli in Benghazi; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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