Benghazi becomes a battleground as Haftar forces retreat
Clashes have taken place on the streets of Benghazi between rival factions fighting for control of the east Libyan city.
The 204 tank battalion, which is loyal to retired major general Khalifa Haftar, battled with forces of the Shura Council of the Benghazi Revolutionaries [SCBR] on Venice Street claiming the lives of 15 pro-Haftar fighters, and injuring three SCBR gunmen.
SCBR forces have been gaining ground against Haftar's forces in recent weeks.
During the battle, SCBR forces were able to seize three tanks belonging to Haftar's forces and disabled a number of others.
However, sources close to the SCBR denied that they had seized the headquarters of the 204 tank battalion. They did say that their fighters had launched a surprise attack on the battalion's forces stationed in the Technical College in Benghazi's Venice district.
Tribes loyal to Haftar are fighting under the banner of the Tobruk government that is internationally recognised as the legitimate authority in Libya. They have been fighting the Islamist militias of the Libyan Dawn and their allied forces for control of the country.
|During the battle, SCBR forces were able to seize three tanks belonging to Haftar's forces and disabled a number of others.|
Forces loyal to Haftar were reported to be shelling the al-Sabri district, a residential area of the coastal city, but without inflicting any casualties on the "revolutionary" forces.
Al-Laithi also saw continued fighting between SCBR fighters and Haftar’s forces, with the fiercest clashes concentrated around al-Hijaz Street. SCBR fighters in al-Laithi destroyed an armed vehicle of Haftar’s forces at the Hajjar Bridge. According to sources, a field commander in Haftar's forces, Shuaib Nuri Boumediene, was wounded in the attack.
In other news, the UAE authorities released four Libyan businessmen on Friday. On 27 October, Emirati police arrested ten Libyans accused of supporting Operation Libya Dawn, an Islamist coalition opposed to the Tobruk government.
Sources said that the rest of the detainees are expected to be released in the coming days, in the wake of reconciliation between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and Qatar who have been accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.
This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.