Gen. Khalifa Hifter, the leader of the Libyan National Army and an ally to the UN-backed Tobruk parliament, is facing significant resistance in efforts to establish control over the city of Benghazi, with the local Shura Council routing his troops in recent fighting.
At least 17 pro-Hifter troops were among the slain in the fighting, and 20 others were wounded. Two fighters with the Shura Council of the Benghazi Revolutionaries were also killed. The group controls much of Benghazi, while Hifter’s forces control a few neighborhoods on the outskirts.
The Shura Council was established to resist Gen. Hifter’s forces when they first took over the city, and expelled them back in 2014. There has been on-again, off-again fighting since then, and the Shura Council has resisted all efforts by outside forces to establish a foothold in the city.
It is unclear what caused this latest fighting, but earlier this month the Red Crescent reported recovering the bodies of 14 executed people from a neighborhood held by Hifter’s troops. This has raised concerns that Hifter, often willing to play fast-and-loose with human rights, has started being even more aggressive in the Benghazi.push.