By Noora Ibrahim, Adam Ali and Ayman Amzein.
Benghazi/Tripoli, 16 October 2014:
Sporadic and isolated violence has continued in Benghazi in the aftermath . . .[restrict]of yesterday’s fierce clashes, as pro-government forces brace themselves for a counter offensive.
The areas of Benina and Fuwayhat which in recent days had been the scene of the worst fighting in the city are now firmly under the control of Operation Dignity.
Dignity leader General Khalifa Hafter visited Benina Airport where less than two weeks ago a double suicide bombing killed as many as 30 soldiers. Until Wednesday the airport and a nearby air defence camp were the last positions in the city held by Dignity forces. The area was more or less constantly under siege from the forces of Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC).
The sprawling camp of 17 February Brigade has largely been secured but there are pockets of resistance in the surrounding areas. It is also where pro-government forces expect a counter attack.
The Commander of Operation Dignity’s Airforce, Adam Saqr Geroushi, told the Libya Herald that the large camp could not be held in its entirety and was of little strategic value.
He explained that Dignity commanders expected an attack from BRSC on the former 17 February Brigade camp as the Islamists attempt to retake the lost ground. Geroushi said as a result of this, residents living in the surrounding area had been asked to evacuate their homes.
For the same reason, it is understood that a number of families living on the Benghazi’s Venicia Street, which saw some of yesterday morning’s fiercest clashes, have requested assistance from the Red Crescent for help with evacuations.
In the early hours of this morning armed government supporters intercepted a truck, seemingly prepared for a suicide bombing, at a checkpoint in Bohdeima. Head of Saiqa Special Forces Investigations Unit Fadel Al-Hassi said when the vehicle had refused to stop at a makeshift checkpoint, gunmen from the local area opened fire, killing its driver. Inside they found vehicle packed with explosives. It is not known where the bomber intended to detonate the device.
Fighting has continued in the areas of Garyounis and Gunfudah as well as in Buatni which remains in the hands of BRSC. In Gariyounis tanks have continued to be used in the clashes, residents explained. Operation Dignity airforces have also been carrying out airstrikes over the areas. [/restrict]