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Libya announces "no-fly zone" over Benghazi

Libyan leaders have condemned what they say is an attempted coup after a renegade general launched an offensive in the eastern city Benghazi on Friday.

Libya's interim prime minister, speaker of parliament and army high command issued a statement denouncing former Major General Khalifa Haftar's maneuvers in Benghazi. The statement called on Benghazi citizens to renounce those who are staging the coup.

The Libyan interim government claimed it was setting up a no-fly zone in an attempt to restrain Haftar's air forces after he threatened to launch more air strikes against Islamist armed groups.

Haftar, a retired major general, led his self-proclaimed national army into Libya's second largest city Benghazi at dawn on Friday and shelled a number of Islamist militant bases.

A Libyan health official says the clashes left at least 79 people dead and about 140 wounded.

Haftar says he is purging the city of terrorists.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 19May14]

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