36 killed in fresh clashes in Libya
Tripoli: Clashes between the Libyan army, backed by the renegade general Khalifa Haftar, and Islamist militias in the eastern city of Benghazi, killed 36 people Friday and Saturday, according to sources.
"The centre has received, in the last 24 hours, 21 dead bodies killed in clashes and random shooting," a source in the Benghazi Medical Centre said, Xinhua reported.
"The remaining 10 include two women and a child killed by random shooting. Libya Croissant Society team found three dead bodies, including two journalists assassinated, as well as military soldiers killed in battles," the source added.
Another medical source in the hospital of Al-Marj, some 100 km east of Benghazi, said that the hospital "received 15 bodies of army soldiers on Saturday".
Since the outbreak of the battles in mid October, nearly 254 people have been killed.
"The army forces are progressing in southeast of the city after taking control of Benina area, where Benghazi International Airport is located," said a spokesperson for special forces and thunderbolt battalions.
"A unit of the army elite arrived on Friday to its main camp near the airport, which is controlled by the Islamists since last July after violent clashes," the source said.
Colonel Ahmad Al-Mismari, official spokesperson for the army, said that "the eastern axes of the city is totally secured and controlled by the army".
The Libyan army, reinforced by gunmen loyal to Haftar, have been waging a street war since mid July, against Islamic militants in the city of Benghazi in an attempt to regain control of the city, which fell into the hands of Islamists since last July.
Benghazi was the birthplace of the 2011 protests that toppled Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi. The city has witnessed a drastic escalation of violence and became a major extremist base in North Africa since the US ambassador to Libya was killed in 2012.