Heavy fighting was reported in and around the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi today, where troops loyal to the Tobruk government fought Islamist forces that they reported were allied with ISIS, the latest in over a year of such offensives. At least 16 fighters were reported killed.
The Tobruk Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, declared its intention to “liberate” Benghazi over a year ago, and has moved against districts in the city intermittently every since. Today, LNA officials claimed some progress in parts of a pair of districts, and in capturing an ISIS camp.
ISIS, however, is not the primary faction in control of Benghazi, a city which is under the sway of several different Islamist groups, some of them openly hostile to ISIS. Like many major cities in Libya, they have not been under the direct control of any of the would-be governments in awhile, and have so far proven incredibly resistant to outside offensives.
The Tobruk government is recognized by the UN as the “legitimate” Libyan government, though it controls little territory. The Tripoli-based government itself controls not much more territory, and the UN has made some efforts to uniting the two sides into a unity government.
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