Toll rises as clashes continue in Libyan city

Medics say toll of last five days has reached 75 as pro- and anti-government militias battle for control of Benghazi.

    Nine people have been killed in new violence in the northeastern Libyan city of Benghazi where pro-government militias have launched an offensive against rival armed groups.

    According to medics, the death toll has now reached 75 in five days.

    In the latest violence, a woman was killed in a bomb attack that targeted the vacant house of former General Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the pro-government militias, a military source said.

    The woman was walking past the house with her daughter, who was wounded in the bombing, the Benghazi Medical Centre said, adding that it had also received the bodies of eight other people including two soldiers.

    Fierce fighting raged in several parts of Libya's second city between pro-government forces led by Haftar and conservative militias, the AFP news agency reported.

    Air raids carried out by units of the air force loyal to Haftar targeted rival militia positions.

    Dozens of people have been killed in Benghazi in fighting between the Dawn of Libya, an alliance of militias that has declared a rival government in Tripoli, and forces led by Haftar.

    On the diplomatic front, the US joined the UK, France, Germany and Italy on Saturday in calling for an "immediate" end to the unrest.

    The European powers and the US said they were "concerned" by the operations carried out by Haftar, who called on the civilians to take up arms despite having the backing of the army.

    Since a 2011 revolution that toppled Libya's longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi, interim authorities have failed to establish a regular army and had to rely on state-backed militias.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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