Fighting in Libya's Benghazi kills 25 in eight days: Medics

Fighting in Libya's Benghazi kills 25 in eight days: Medics
Members of a brigade headed by field commander Salah Bogheib and loyal to Khalifa Haftar -a retired general and former chief of staff for Muammar Gaddafi- hold up their guns as they fight alongside Libyan army troops against Islamist gunmen in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

At least 25 people have been killed and 103 wounded in the past eight days of fighting between pro-government forces and Islamist groups in Libya's second city Benghazi, medics said on Thursday.

That brings the death toll to around 475 since the army and forces led by former general Khalifa Haftar started a campaign against Islamists in the port city in mid-Oct.

The pro-government forces have managed to expel Islamist fighters from the airport area and seize back army camps the Islamists took over in August.

Police and other government institutions have resumed work in some districts where the army is in control but fighting has continued in the port.

Haftar's warplanes have been bombing the area for weeks, but pro-government forces say Islamists are still holed up in the area.

"We have surrounded them on four sides," said Haftar's spokesman, Mohamed El Hejazi.

The fighting in Benghazi is only one element of the turmoil sweeping the North African country. Two rival governments, each with its own parliament and army, claim legitimacy, three years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

In Aug, Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni and his cabinet were forced to leave Tripoli for the east when a group called Libya Dawn seized the capital.

The new rulers of Tripoli have set up their own administration, which has not been recognised by the United Nations and world powers.

The situation has been complicated by the Benghazi fighting, where Haftar has merged his force with the army under a mandate from the elected parliament, which is allied to Thinni.

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