Pro govt forces west Libya town of Kekla

Fighters loyal to Libya’s internationally recognised government have seized control of the key western town of Kekla after more than 40 days of clashes with Islamists, both sides said on Monday.

A diverse coalition of mainly Islamist militias drove fighters allied with the government from Tripoli in August, after weeks of fighting that killed more than 100 people.

It created a rival Islamist administration, known as the General National Congress, as the government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani took refuge in the east of the country.

Pro-government fighters from the western town of Zintan, backed by parts of the army and air force loyal to Thani, launched a counter-offensive in October to wrest back control of the strategic outpost of Kekla, southwest of Tripoli.

Thani’s government said on Monday that the offensive had brought Kekla under the “command of the army” and that it was intended to end “liberate Tripoli”.

The head of the Islamist administration in the capital, Jadallah al-Abidi, acknowledged the loss of Kekla, but insisted the defeat did not signal the “collapse” of Islamist forces in the west.

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