TRIPOLI, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Five soldiers of the eastern-based Libyan army were killed on Sunday by landmine explosions in eastern city of Darna, according to military and medical sources.
"Five soldiers of the (army's) battalion 212 infantry were killed when a number of landmines exploded west of the city of Darna during a reconnaissance operation by a military detachment, following withdrawal of terrorist group members," an official of the army's operations chamber told Xinhua.
"The withdrawal of the terrorists came after an air force raids," the official said, confirming that unspecified number of extremists were killed by the army.
The army is launching a military operation to take over Darna from the militants who control the coastal city.
Since 2015, Darna has been besieged by the army, which demands that the Shura Council (consultative council) of the Mujahideen in Darna, a coalition of Islamist militias, to leave.
The army accused the armed group of being loyal to al-Qaida.
Humanitarian coordinator of the UN Support Mission in Libya Maria Ribeiro on Thursday called on the army to allow humanitarian aid to enter Darna.