By Noora Ibrahim.
Benghazi, 11 October 2014:
Heavy losses are believed to have been sustained by both sides in clashes at Benina Airport as . . .[restrict]renewed fighting erupted between Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shura Council (BRSC) and pro-government forces this morning.
Mohamed Al-Hejazi, the spokesman for Operation Dignity, told the Libya Herald that Islamist forces began their assault on Benina in the early hours of the morning and fighting had continued into the afternoon.
Reports on the ground have indicated that casualties were particularly high on either side with some saying that scores died in the clashes.
However Hejazi explained that it was almost impossible to know how many had been killed while the battle was still going on. He added that he believed the claims to be exaggerated.
“This is not a football game and people are dying every day in these clashes,” he said.
No other Operation Dignity officials have been available to comment on the death toll. Medical officials in Abiar and Marj where the majority of pro-government casualties is taken have not responded to calls from the Libya Herald.
Hejazi also refuted speculation that the Revolutionaries’ Shura Council had taken control of the airport, which has been their objective for more than two months.
Sporadic clashes have been ongoing at Benina since Ramadan. Often the fighting is long-range as both forces rain down mortars and grad rockets. Operation Dignity has also been using airstrikes.
More recently the conflict has been at close quarters as BRSC fighter encroach to within ten kilometres of Benina. A week ago a double suicide bombing was deployed as the opening salvo to a fresh bout of combat near the airport. [/restrict]