Libya general’s troops push into central Benghazi


BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Troops loyal to a powerful general in eastern Libya say they have pushed into central parts of Benghazi on Monday, working to clear out the final areas held by Islamists and their allies in the eastern city.

Riyadh al-Shahiebi, of the special forces media office, says troops fighting for the Libyan National Army of Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter entered the Souq al-Hout and Sabri areas. Six soldiers were killed in the fighting, mostly from land mines and roadside bombs.

Hifter is allied with the internationally recognized parliament in eastern Libya and at odds with the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli.

Libya sank into chaos following the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The oil-producing nation now is split between rival governments and militias.

Benghazi has been the scene of heavy fighting in the past three years between Hifter’s forces and Islamic militants and former rebels.