General Haftar's troops try to take back Benghazi

Using airstrikes and tanks; at least 15 jihadists killed

15 October, 15:45

    Fighting flares in Benghazi [ARCHIVE MATERIAL ] Fighting flares in Benghazi [ARCHIVE MATERIAL ]

    (ANSAmed) - CAIRO/ROME - Libyan forces under General Khalifa Haftar on Wednesday launched an offensive to retake the city of Benghazi, which fell into the hands of the jihadist Ansar Al-Sharia in July. An army spokesman said that about fifteen fighters had been killed in the clashes. Tanks from the 204th Brigade are taking part in the fighting, and the battle is reportedly advancing into areas considered Ansar Al-Sharia strongholds. Several armed civilians are taking part in the pro-government offensive. General Haftar made a televised announcement on Tuesday evening stating that his forces were prepared to ''liberate'' Benghazi from ''terrorists''. ''The population is shut in their homes while fighting is underway in the outlying areas of the city,'' Monsignor Sylvester Carmel Magro, Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi, told the Vatican news agency Fides. ''The bombing began early this morning,'' said Monsignor Magro, underscoring that fighting between different factions in Benghazi was a regular occurrence. ''The clashes are mostly in the outlying areas right now and are not in the center of the city for the time being,'' he said. ''But we do not know how the situation will develop, and so we are all staying in our homes.'' (ANSAmed).

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