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13 dead as Libya ex-rebel chief battles Benghazi Islamists

Published on May 17, 2014 2:56 AM

BENGHAZI (AFP) - Forces loyal to a rogue general clashed with former rebel Islamist groups in lawless Benghazi of eastern Libya killing at least 13 people on Friday.

The violence in what was the cradle of Libya's 2011 revolution comes weeks after the government acknowledged for the first time the existence of "terrorist groups" in the country and said it was mobilising against them.

Authorities have been avoiding a full-blown confrontation with the heavily armed ex-rebels who have bastions in Benghazi and other eastern regions, until they can bolster the army and police.

The clashes erupted after a group led by Khalifa Haftar, a retired general who led ground forces in the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi, pounded a barracks of the "February 17 Brigade", witnesses said.

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