Bloody clashes break out in Libya's Benghazi

Photo: Bloody clashes break out in Libya's Benghazi
 / Arab World

Sixteen people, most of them soldiers, were killed and 81 others were injured in clashes between the Libyan army and Islamist fighters in the eastern city of Benghazi, medical and military sources said Tuesday, according to AFP.

"Most of the dead and injured are soldiers. Three civilians, including an Egyptian, were killed when a rocket hit their house," a hospital source said on condition of anonymity, Al Arabiya reported.

Fighting broke out after an alliance of Islamist militia attacked an army barrack, killing five soldiers, a military official said.

Benghazi's clashes followed a week of fighting between rival militias for control of Tripoli International Airport in the capital that has prompted the North Africa country to appeal for international help to stop Libya becoming a failed state.

Since the 2011 civil war that toppled autocrat Muammar Qaddafi, 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.

Ansar al-Sharia is listed by Washington as a foreign terrorist organisation, and has entrenched itself in Benghazi, where it has often been blamed for assassinations and attacks on soldiers.

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