Libyan east-based army routs militants from part of Benghazi

AP News
Posted: Jan 25, 2017 10:46 AM

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — A Libyan military spokesman says troops have routed Islamic militants from a key area they controlled in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The official speaks for the armed forces that answer to the internationally recognized parliament based in eastern Libya. Ali al-Mosmari says troops swept into the militants' stronghold in the city's western district of Ganfouda on Wednesday, after months of laying a tight siege on the area.

Al-Mosmari posted on Twitter: "We just freed Ganfouda."

He says dozens of civilians trapped by the fighting were liberated.

The two-year campaign to push militants out of Benghazi is led by Khalifa Hifter, who is not recognized by Libya's U.N.-backed government in the capital, Tripoli.

The battles have left Benghazi — Libya's second-largest city — in ruins but Hifter's popularity has surged.