TRIPOLI, NNC – A Libyan military official said clashes broke out on Thursday between Libya's eastern-based army and extremists in the eastern city of Benghazi.
"The Libyan army is launching a major attack on the city's last stronghold of terrorists, who are also firing back heavily," army officer Saeed Wanees told Xinhua.
"The attack came in response to the killing of two army soldiers on Wednesday by a sniper from the terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia in Ekhrebish area in Benghazi," said Wanees.
The army's attack aims at "ending the battle in Benghazi and completing the liberation announced months ago," he said, Xinhua reported as quoted by Antara in Jakarta on Friday (12/15/2017).
He added that a large amount of landmines planted by terrorist organizations are what stop the army's progress.
The Libyan air force also launched heavy airstrikes on terrorists in the area, the army officer said.
The fighting against extremists in Ekhrebish area has killed nine soldiers since December, while in November, 10 extremists and 7 army troops were killed.
Benghazi, Libya's second largest city and the birthplace of the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi, has witnessed a three-year war between the army led by Haftar and extremist groups.
In June, Haftar announced the takeover of the entire city of Benghazi after defeating the rival armed groups, but some militants remain in the city and use landmines to cause damage.