By Noora Ibrahim.
Benghazi, 22 October 2014:
Pro-government forces have pushed Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shura Council (BRSC) from one of its most prominent Benghazi . . .[restrict]positions over the course of the seventh day of clashes in the city.
The Commander of Operation Dignity’s Airforce, Saqr Adam Geroushi, told the Libya Herald the victory was “deeply symbolic” and “full of meaning”. Ansar Al-Sharia’s control of the entrance to Gwarsha, a predominantly pro-Islamist area, was one of the most visible signs of BRSC power in Benghazi.
Elsewhere in the city, the violence which has plagued Benghazi for a week continued. Operation Dignity carried out airstrikes on an Ansar Al-Sharia stronghold in the Masekin area where there has been heavy fighting in recent days. Further army reinforcements to bolster pro-government fighters also arrived in the east of Benghazi, Geroushi said.
In Fuwayhat, fighting continued near the 17 February Brigade base that Operation Dignity claimed to have pacified on the first day that it reentered the city. Residents said tanks were deployed from 204 Tank Battalion during the clashes.
Senior military sources claimed they had arrested 12 individuals related to the commander of the Brega Martyr’s Brigade Mohamed Al-Araibi which is aligned with BRSC. The whereabouts of Araibi, also referred to as Bouka, is unknown. In September he was wounded in Benghazi after he was hit in the leg by shrapnel.
Echoing claims made by Operation Dignity, local residents have said that pro-government forces now control roughly 80 percent of Benghazi. The districts of Benina, Buatni, Fuwayhat, Majouri, Kish, Budheima, Sabri, Sidi Mansour and Al-Rajma just off Benina are said to be firmly in pro-government hands, with the army now manning checkpoints.
In the Humeida district a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device but managed to kill only himself, locals explained. Because of the fear of suicide bombers, there is now reportedly a shoot-to-kill policy at Benghazi checkpoints for vehicles that refuse to stop. Reliable sources have told this newspaper that the majority of recent suicide bombings in the city were carried out by teenagers recruited from Derna.
Because of the gains by pro-government forces, BRSC can now only reportedly move in and out of Benghazi through the port, resupplying in Derna. A source familiar with the town explained that “every single day a minimum of three bodies arrives in Derna.” BRSC has never reported how many of its troops have been killed in clashes but it is believed they generally retrieve their dead taking them for burial to nearby towns they control. [/restrict]