Heavy Fighting in Benghazi as East Libyan Forces Clash With Islamists

National Army Claims Control of Most of Benghazi, But Resistance Remains

by Jason Ditz, March 13, 2017

Another day of heavy fighting was reported in the southwestern portion of the Libyan city of Benghazi, where forces from the Libyan National Army (LNA), loyal to the Tobruk parliament, try to gain control over a city which has large Islamist militias resisting them every step of the way.

The LNA, run by former CIA asset Gen. Khalifa Hifter, has been attacking Benghazi for three years, and despite claims of controlling most of the city, the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB), the chief Islamist resistance, has not only continued to fight them in Benghazi, but seized territory from them elsewhere, including valuable oil export terminals further west along the coast.

While the LNA’s territory has generally grown, they are seen spreading increasingly thin, and in a country like Libya, where endless different local and regional factions are operating, and almost any move into a town or city involves a fight with at least one, and sometimes several, such groups.

The Tobruk Parliament is among several extent governments in Libya, and is the recognized parliament of Libya per the UN, though the UN also claims a Tripoli-based unity government, which the parliament doesn’t recognize, to be the legitimate government.

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