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Libyan General Wages War against Islamist Militants in Benghazi

Libyan General Wages War against Islamist Militants in Benghazi

Rogue Libyan General Khalifa Haftar launched an operation against Islamist jihadists on Sunday in Benghazi, Libya, Sunday.

Up to a dozen people were killed, and as many as sixteen were wounded in the attacks. Power was knocked out in much of eastern Libya when rockets hit a power station, according to the state electric company. In addition, Haftar detained five militants.

Benghazi is the city where Islamist radical entities, such as Ansar al-Sharia, attacked the American consulate on September 11, 2012. Four Americans lost their lives in that attack, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Haftar’s Air Force commander said that Ansar al-Sharia would continue to be bombarded via air strikes, calling the Islamist group an “extremist” faction. “This attack will be followed by an aerial strike against a site controlled by extremists in Benghazi suburbs,” he said.

Many within Libya have joined forces and lent support to Haftar’s anti-Islamist operation. Haftar, among others, believes that the parliament had been so heavily infiltrated by terrorist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Ansar al-Sharia, that the only rational choice he had was to commence a full-scale military operation to stifle the Islamist groups’ support. Haftar now commands a sizeable military unit backed by tanks, air support, and advanced weaponry.

Haftar decidedly placed blamed on the Qatari government for propping up the Islamist groups within Libya. In a news conference, he said, “There is no doubt Qatar supports the militias in Libya.” Haftar also accused the Qataris of sponsoring a hit on his life during a June 4 assassination attempt. 

The rogue general struck a different tone when it came to recently elected Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. He said that Sisi was the right man to stop the advances of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group, which Haftar called an “international spy network.”

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