By Ayman Amzein.
Benghazi, 9 April 2016:
Heavy fighting in Benghazi was continuing this evening as the army launched a push into the . . .[restrict]tourist village at Ganfouda in the south of the city.
The attack which began early this morning was opened by an air raid.
Reports of army casualties are still coming in. Jalaa hospital has said that one soldier has died and 17 have been injured. It was not possible to check with the Benghazi Medical Centre to see if they had also received any dead and wounded.
This evening a large number of “technicals” and cars packed with soldiers was seen heading towards the fighting, evidently to reinforce army units, some of whom may have been rotated out of the line after the daytime battle.
After the army’s significant gains in the 22 February “Blood of the Martyrs” operation, the advance has petered out. What fighting that has taken place has been mostly around the still bitterly-contested Hawari cement factory.
Rumours persist that French DGSE special forces had been supporting the army on 22 February from a base at Benina Airport. Three days into the operation Saiqa special forces commander, Colonel Wanis Bukhamada denied that he had ever claimed that any French units were involved.
There was also another airstrike this evening on Sabri, close by the port, but no attempt by ground troops to advance into the district. Isolated Sabri, which armed force commander-in-chief General Khalifa Hafter has been vowing for months to take from IS and Ansar Al-Sharia fighters, continues to hold out. This is despite the fact that the army now has a clear field of fire over the beach which is the only supply route for the militants. [/restrict]