Body of defiant LNA soldier found. Airforce says militant area now too small to strike

By Libya Herald reporters.

The late Suleiman Al-Houti, the soldier who messaged he would die wth honour (Photo: social media)

The late Suleiman Al-Houti, the trapped soldier who messaged he would die with honour (Photo: social media)

Benghazi, 29 June 2017:

The remains of an LNA soldier have been found in a Suq Al Hout building where he was trapped this February by militants.  Suleiman Al-Houti’s last message sent to his social media account was “ I will act with honour”.

Houti was later killed when the building was overrun. His murder was filmed by the militants and Ahmed Al-Mushait, known as “Aseida” the IS member thought to be responsible was later captured in Misrata where he reportedly admitted the crime.

Troops scouring retaken buildings in Suq Al-Hout and Sabri are reported to have found the bodies of other soldiers killed in recent weeks but the LNA has today given no details of the individuals nor a figure for current casualties in the continuing drive into Sabri, the last militant enclave in the city.

Sabri, the last district held by militants (Graphic supplied based on Google Earth)

Sabri, the last district held by militants (Graphic supplied based on Google Earth)

In a sign that the end of the battle for Benghazi may at last be approaching, the air force today announced that it would carry out no more airstrikes as the area still held by the militants was too small. Unlike the Bunyan Marsous battle for IS-held Sirte last year, the LNA has not had the support of precision airstrikes from US war planes and helicopter gunships.

The LNA has declared a 24-hour truce in the old city area around Benghazi’s iconic lighthouse, to allow trapped families to leave. It is unclear how many civilians have crossed the frontline nor indeed precisely when the truce is due to end.

Elsewhere in Benghazi, despite the many stinking piles of refuse, the Eid holiday has been notably more cheerful than in the last four years  A series of municipal and civil society meetings has been taking place to plan the clear-up and rebuilding in areas of the city devastated by three years of violence.

There are public health concerns about rats and insects, burst water mains and ruptured sewerage pipes. And even when the fighting is finished, as tragedies with people returning to their homes in Leithi, Garayounis and Ganfouda have demonstrated, bomb disposal teams have months of work ahead of them getting rid of mines, IEDs and unexploded ordinance that litter the former battlefields.

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