Libyan militant group behind 'US ambassador killing' dissolves

Libyan militant group behind 'US ambassador killing' dissolves
Ansar al-Sharia, a Libyan jihadi militant group, announced it will dissolve, following repeated air raids on another al-Qaeda linked group in eastern Libya.
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Ansar al-Sharia overran Benghazi in 2014 [Getty]

A Libyan militant group with alleged links to al-Qaeda announced it had "dissolved" on Saturday in a surprise communique published online.

In its communique Ansar al-Sharia said it had been "weakened" by fighting against renegafe general Khalifa Haftar in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

It comes as another al-Qaeda linked group in Derna comes under sustained attacks from Cairo war planes, afyer the militants were accused of being behind a massacre of Christians close to an Egyptian monastery.

"We officially announce to everyone, especially Libyans, the dissolution of Ansar al-Sharia in Libya," the group said in a statement.

It is deemed an "al-Qaeda organisation" by the US, UK and UN.

Washington accuses it of being behind an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in 2012, which left Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.

It is one of many militant groups that sprung up in Benghazi following the death of Muammar Gaddafi.

The group overran Libya's second largest city in 2014, however Haftar earlier this month launched an offensive to oust the militants from their two remaining strongholds in Benghazi.

The group lost its leader, Mohammed Azahawi, in clashes with Haftar's forces in Benghazi at the end of 2014 and most of its members then defected to the so-called Islamic State group.

Ansar al-Sharia later joined the Revolutionary Shura Council of Benghazi, a local alliance of Islamist militias.

At its zenith, Ansar al-Sharia was present in Benghazi and Derna in eastern Syria, with off-shoots in Sirte and Sabratha, western Libya.

The organisation took over barracks and other sites abandoned by the ousted Gaddafi forces and transformed them into training grounds for hundreds of militants.