Eight killed as suspected Islamist militants attack security HQ in Libya

(Reuters) – Eight people were killed and up to 15 wounded when suspected Islamist militants tried to storm the Libyan government security headquarters in Benghazi on Friday, army officials and medics said.

The dead were soldiers and police officers, army officials said. Huge explosions could be heard during a firefight in the early morning that lasted more than an hour. Special forces later secured the headquarters, near the city center.

The bodies of two soldiers, kidnapped by militants during the attack, were found later bearing signs of torture, a medical source said.

Libya’s central government is struggling to control armed groups, militias and brigades of former rebels who helped oust longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and refuse to disarm.

Special forces have often clashed with Islamist militants in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city that dominates the volatile eastern region, including from Ansar al-Sharia, listed as a terrorist organization by the United States.

Armed men also attacked the apartment of Benghazi’s security chief Colonol Ramadan al-Wahishi. He was not hurt, a security official said.

 

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