Govt forces storm militia base in Benghazi, four killed

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Benghazi, Sept 22: Government supporters stormed the headquarters of the Islamist Ansar al-Sharia militia here on Friday, aiming to drive out fighters, an agency report said. Four people were reportedly killed in the violence. It is said that Ansar al-Sharia was behind the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last week, which led to the death of US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and other staff. Ansar, however, denies such claims.

The demonstrators also took control of the premises of Abu Slim Brigade, another independent militia force, besides storming into another base of Ansar.

The action against Ansar is considered a part of the coordination move by the police, government troops and activists to remove militia headquarters in the wake of mass protest against militia units earlier in the day. The protesters, who were shouting "Libya, Libya" and waved weapons, stormed the Ansar headquarters and pulled down militia flags and torched a vehicle.

The demonstrators, who were giving slogans against the al-Qaeda, said the people of Benghazi had witnessed enough of extremism. There was, however, no resistance on the militants' behalf. The base, which was stormed by the pro-government forces, was once the base of former leader Muammar Gaddafi. It was later taken over by Ansar.

Earlier, several Libyans marched in Benghazi, the second-largest city in the country, in support of democracy and against Islamist militias whom the US blamed for the attack on its consulate. Hundreds of Ansar supporters also held a counter-protest.

The demonstration, known as 'Rescue Banghazi Day', called for the government to take on armed groups that refused to surrender arms and weapons since the NATO-backed revolution that started last year.

OneIndia News

(With agency inputs)

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