Clashes between the Libyan army and Islamist militia have killed up to nine people and injured 49 in Benghazi, said the Libyan Interior Ministry. A state of alert has been declared in the city and people have been advised to stay in their homes.
Violence erupted early on Monday in Benghazi when the Libyan army attempted to pursue a suspect into a neighborhood where militant group Ansar al-Sharia is known to operate. The group in question was blamed for the attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi last September that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens.
“A violent clash has been taking place for several hours between our forces and an Ansar al-Sharia cell,”Colonel Milud al-Zwei, spokesman for Libya’s Special Forces, told AFP.
The Libyan government has warned that a “red line” was not to be crossed and soldiers have been ordered to report to barracks across the city. Ten days ago Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan urged all armed militias to leave the city of Tripoli following skirmishes between protesters and militiamen.
Libya is still struggling to control militia groups that participated in the overthrow of Gaddafi in 2011.. see more