Over 5,000 soldiers killed in war against terrorism in Libya's Benghazi

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-04 03:55:53|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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TRIPOLI, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Libyan army spokesman on Wednesday said that the war against terrorism in the eastern city of Benghazi killed more than 5,000 soldiers.

"All the military operations in the city have ended, and terrorism has been eliminated, after our forces fought battles from the Benina Air Base to Sidi Ekhrebish (central Benghazi)," army spokesman Ahmad Mismari said in a news conference.

"We do not forget the sacrifices of men in this epic battle, after more than 5,000 martyr soldiers were killed and thousands others are amputees for the elimination of terrorism in Benghazi," Mismari added.

The army announced on Thursday taking control of the whole area of Sidi Ekhrebish in central Benghazi, the last terrorist stronghold in the city, after operations that lasted more than five months. Dozens of extremists fled after the army forces took control of the area.

Benghazi, Libya's second largest city and the birthplace of the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi, has witnessed a three-year war between the army led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar and extremist militants.

In June, Haftar announced the takeover of the entire city of Benghazi and the defeat of rival armed groups. However, some militants have remained in the city, using landmines against his army.

Mismari pointed out that the army "continues fighting against terrorism. We have monitored all terrorist movements and those supporting them." He stressed that the army continues to besiege the nearby city of Derna.

"Sirte Operations Chamber continues to pursue remaining Islamic State (IS) militants in southeastern Sirte from time to time. Security patrols and flights continue, despite the difficulty of the nature and conditions of the area," Mismari said regarding possible IS threats.

In December 2015, forces allied with the UN-backed Libyan government defeated the IS affiliates and expelled them from Sirte, some 450 km east to the capital Tripoli.

The remnant IS fighters fled to the southern valleys and mountainous areas ever since.