Libyan war planes attack militants in Derna

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, April 22, 2016
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News
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imgMilitary forces loyal to Libya’s eastern government said on Thursday they had carried out air strikes overnight against militants in Derna after Daesh militants retreated from positions close to the city.

Derna has been the site of a three-way conflict between the forces loyal to the eastern government, an Islamist grouping known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council and Daesh militants.

Fighters from Daesh had controlled the city until the Shura Council forces pushed them out last June. The military has attacked both groups.

Military spokesman Abdulkarim Sabra said the overnight air strikes had targeted Shura Council fighters in Derna’s Sayeda Khadija neighbourhood and at Bishr prison. He made no comment on possible casualties.

Shura Council spokesman Hafed Addabaa said the prison had held Daesh suspects and added that the strikes had not caused any casualties or damage.

The military and the Shura Council both claimed credit for the withdrawal of Daesh on Wednesday from positions in Derna’s “district 400” and Al Fatayeh to the south of the city.

“We attacked Daesh in Al Fatayeh to recapture the area. The attack was from all sides except the south, which is where they fled,” said Addabaa.

Five Shura Council fighters and six civilians were killed by mines and booby traps after they entered Al-Fatayeh, he said.

Sabra, the military spokesman, said Daesh had retreated because of a year-long blockade by the army and shelling by troops of the militants’ positions.

Soldiers posted videos of themselves in Al Fatayeh on Thursday, saying they had control of the area.

Daesh has gained territory in Libya as two rival governments and a range of armed factions have battled to control the country since 2014. But it has faced resistance from other local armed groups on the ground.

Derna, which has a history of militancy, was an early bastion for Daesh fighters returning from Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Though they lost control of Derna last year, the group established a stronghold in the central coastal city of Sirte.

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