Haftar’s east Libya forces drive jihadists from Benghazi, ending 2-year battle

by WorldTribune Staff, November 18, 2016

East Libyan forces under the command of Gen. Khalifa Haftar on Nov. 17 drove Islamist militants from one of their last strongholds in Benghazi.

Fighters for the Libyan National Army clash with jihadists in Benghazi. /Reuters
Fighters for the Libyan National Army clash with jihadists in Benghazi. /Reuters

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) took control of the southwestern district of Ganfouda, and nearby Guwarsha, after flushing out opposing forces. The LNA has been fighting Islamist militants and other militias in Benghazi for more than two years.

The eastern government, supported by the LNA, is opposed to a UN-backed government that arrived in Tripoli in March.

“The forces of LNA have liberated Guwarsha and our forces found 15 bodies belonging to terrorist groups,” military spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari told Reuters.

LNA special forces field commander Wanis Boukhamada, in a video posted on social media, is heard shouting into a radio: “Repeat, repeat, the main road of Guwarsha district Shajar Street has fallen! … God is great.”

The LNA also conducted airstrikes in Ganfouda and another district, Sabri, a military official said.

At least 18 LNA soldiers were killed and 54 wounded in the fighting, medical officials said. Four of the dead were killed in a mine explosion in Guwarsha, they said.

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