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At Least 10 Killed, 25 Injured in Fresh Violence in Libya’s Benghazi - Agency

RIA Novosti

15:51 31/08/2014 MOSCOW, August 31 (RIA Novosti) – The forces of the former general Khalifa Haftar and Islamist fighters clashed in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, on Saturday, leaving at least 10 people dead and 25 injured, Reuters reports citing medical and military sources.

Islamist militants, including Ansar al-Sharia, considered a terrorist organization by the US, shelled the area around the Benina airport to the east of Benghazi in an attempt to seize it from the Haftar forces.

On Friday, Islamists from Ansar al-Sharia said they downed a plane belonging to Haftar’s fighters in the city of al-Bayda located in eastern Libya. However, the spokesman for the general denied the reports saying the aircraft crashed due to technical glitch, according to AFP.

On Thursday, Abdullah al-Thinni stepped down as the country’s prime minister so that the new government could be formed following June elections. Currently, there are two rivaling parliaments in Libya - the newly elected House of Representatives, located in Tobruk, and the General National Congress (GNC) controlled by Islamists in Tripoli.

The House of Representatives backs al-Thinni. For its part, GNC has appointed Omar al-Hassi prime minister of Libya and tasked him with forming new government, according to al-Jazeera.

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2174 condemning the ongoing fighting by armed groups and the incitement to violence in Libya and in particular around Tripoli and Benghazi. It also expressed deep concern over the threat fresh violence poses to stability and democratic transition of the conflict-torn country.

Libya plunged into turmoil following the overthrow of the country’s long-standing leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country has been ravaged by civil war ever since rivaling militias and armed forces have been fighting for power as well as control over Libya’s oil resources.

Clashes between government forces and Islamist-allied militias armed with weapons seized from Gaddafi government ammunition depots have been escalating in the country for months. Many countries, including the US, Britain, Germany and France among others, have evacuated their diplomatic staff from Libya.

Earlier on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the current political chaos in Libya is triggered by the attempts of the United States and its NATO allies to “forcefully democratize the country”.

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