Libyan army declares Benghazi ‘liberated’

Tripoli, July 6 (IANS) The Libyan National Army (LNA) has defeated rival militant groups and taken control of Benghazi after three years of fierce fighting, the military’s eastern-based commander has said.

Major General Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the eastern-based LNA, in a televised speech on Wednesday announced that his troops “have completely liberated the city of Benghazi from terrorism. We announce the army’s victory in the battle of dignity against terrorism”, the BBC reported.

Haftar’s forces, allied with the eastern-based authorities, were fighting militant groups in the major rebel stronghold of Benghazi in a military campaign called “Dignity Operation”.

Haftar said the liberation of the city was a “historic occasion that the Libyan people waited for a long time”.

He thanked the brave soldiers and the friendly countries for supporting Libya in the war against terrorism.

Haftar’s army now controls major eastern oil ports as well as a large airbase in southern Libya.

Libya is still trapped in turmoil and a political divide despite the signing of a UN-backed peace agreement and the establishment of a unity government.

–IANS

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