Tags: Libya | unrest | Benghazi

Six Dead in Benghazi Clashes as Militants Attack Security HQ

Friday, 02 May 2014 08:53 AM

Gunmen stormed police headquarters in Libya's second city Benghazi before dawn on Friday sparking fighting in several districts that killed five soldiers and a policeman, medical and military sources said.

Special forces intervened to try to evict the gunmen triggering fighting elsewhere in the eastern city that also wounded 12 soldiers, the sources said, adding that three troops are listed as missing in action.

An earlier toll said at least five soldiers were killed in the violence.

The gunmen were trying to seize a vehicle packed with weapons and ammunition that the police had taken from them, a security source said.

Blasts and gunfire rocked the Mediterranean city for two hours from 0100 GMT, witnesses said.

An army officer told AFP that four of the soldiers killed died as they were heading back to their barracks after fighting had subsided.

The officer, who declined to be named, said "tension" was running high among army units in Benghazi.

Friday's violence comes just days after a car bomb targeted a special forces barracks in Benghazi, killing two soldiers and wounding three.

Benghazi was the cradle of the 2011 uprising that ended Moammar Gadhafi's four-decade rule and has since been plagued by violence that has killed dozens of members of the security forces, judges and foreigners.

The government has been struggling to consolidate control in the vast and mostly desert country, which is effectively ruled by a patchwork of local militias and awash with heavy weapons looted from Gadhafi's arsenals.

The lawlessness has even extended to the capital.

On Tuesday, gunmen stormed the parliament building in Tripoli forcing lawmakers to postpone a vote for a new prime minister to replace Abdallah al-Thani who quit in April — after just five days in the job — saying he and his family had come under attack.

Thani had been selected to replace Ali Zeidan, who was ousted by parliament in March to punish him for failing to prevent a rebel oil shipment and put an end to the lawlessness.

Foreign missions have also been hit, including the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which was stormed by jihadists in September 2012, resulting in the deaths of the ambassador and three other Americans.

As well as Al-Qaeda inspired violence, the Tripoli authorities have had to contend with a revolt in the east by former rebel militiamen demanding the restoration of the autonomy the region enjoyed for the first 12 years after Libyan independence in 1951.

The militia seized four key oil terminals last July, launching a blockade that slashed Libyan exports from 1.5 million barrels per day to just 250,000 bpd.

The government struck a deal early last month to end the standoff which has cost it more than $14 billion (10.1 billion euros) in lost revenues and was instrumental in Zeidan's fall.

The army has retaken control of two of the terminals and the OPEC oil cartel has said it expects exports to recover to 1.0 million barrels per day by-mid June.

But negotiations are still continuing for the return of the other two.

© AFP 2017

 
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MiddleEast
Gunmen stormed police headquarters in Libya's second city Benghazi before dawn on Friday sparking fighting in several districts that killed five soldiers and a policeman, medical and military sources said.
Libya, unrest, Benghazi
505
2014-53-02
Friday, 02 May 2014 08:53 AM
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