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Libya's national army claims progress in Benghazi

The Libyan Army, reinforced by armed supporters of retired Major-General Khalifa Haftar, claimed to have controlled the 17 February Brigade's camp in the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday, according to military officials.

"The army is securing the camp and the surrounding areas," a Libyan army spokesman said. On Friday a video footage on the social media website of the 204 Tank Battalion shows the commander of the brigade and other fighters in front of the main gate of the camp, declaring control of the camp of 17 February Islamist militia.

Armed civilians have fought alongside Haftar's forces in a new offensive to retake Benghazi, which fell into the hands of Islamist militias last July, including the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia and 17 February Brigade. The Islamic militants have dominated the second largest in Libya since July.

Benghazi was the birthplace of the 2011 protests against Libya' s former leader Muammar Gaddafi. The city has witnessed a drastic escalation of violence and become a major extremist base in North Africa since the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed in 2012.

[Source: Xinhua, Benghazi, 24Oct14]

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