September 22, 2012 / 12:49 AM / 5 years ago

Islamist militia withdraws from Benghazi base: witnesses

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan Islamist militia Ansar al-Sharia was swept from its final major military base in Benghazi in the early hours of Saturday after a mass popular uprising in support of the government, Reuters witnesses said.

Looters were carrying weapons out of the vacated compound, abandoned by fighters who left the heavily armed base. Men clapped and chanted: “Say to Ansar al-Sharia, Benghazi will be your inferno.”

“We went into the camp and we didn’t find anyone. We just took these Kalashnikovs,” said one youth.

Libyan army trucks sped away from the compound carrying government troops cheering in victory and crying out, “God is Greatest.”

Scores of demonstrators earlier stormed Ansar al-Sharia’s main base in what appeared to be a coordinated sweep of militia headquarters buildings by police, government troops and activists following a mass public demonstration against militia units on Friday.

Reporting by Peter Graff; Editing by Eric Walsh

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