Libya Islamic Militias Claiming Control of Benghazi

Militias say they have defeated army units and are taking over military barracks.

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Protesters run after an attack on a Libyan militia, the Libya Shield brigade, headquarters in Benghazi.
Protesters run after an attack on a Libyan militia, the Libya Shield brigade, headquarters in Benghazi.Credit: Reuters

AP - Islamic hard-line militias are claiming to have taken control of Libya's second largest city, Benghazi, after defeating army units, taking over military barracks and seizing tanks, rockets and hundreds of boxes of ammunition.

A commander of one of the militias in the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries umbrella group told The Associated Press on Thursday, "We are the only force on the ground in Benghazi." He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

In a video put out by the umbrella group, Mohammed al-Zahawi, the head of the Ansar al-Shariah militia, congratulates his followers on "this victory and conquest."

The militias have been battling forces loyal to a renegade general, Khalifa Hifter, who had been waging a campaign to crush extremist militias.

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