Pro-government forces launch Benghazi offensive against militias

imgNine people were killed on Sunday in new violence in Benghazi where pro-government forces have launched an offensive against Islamist militias, raising the toll to 75 dead in five days, medics said.

In the latest violence a woman was killed in a bomb attack that targeted the vacant house of former general Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the offensive launched Wednesday, a military source said.

The woman was walking past the house with her daughter, who was wounded in the bombing, said the Benghazi Medical Centre, adding that it had also received the bodies of eight other people including two soldiers.

Fierce fighting raged in several parts of Libya’s second city between pro-government forces led by Haftar and Islamist militias.

Air raids carried out by units of the air force loyal to Haftar pounded Islamist positions.

On Saturday the United States joined Britain, France, Germany and Italy in calling for an “immediate” end to long-running violence there between government forces and militias.

Since a 2011 revolution that toppled Libya’s long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi, interim authorities have failed to establish a regular army and had to rely on state-backed militias.

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