Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Libyan militias capture Benghazi in surge of violence

BENGHAZI, Libya — Islamic hard-line militias, including the group accused by the United States in a 2012 attack that killed an ambassador and three other Americans, claimed control of Libya's second largest city, Benghazi, after overrunning army barracks and seizing heavy weapons.

The sweep in the eastern city is part of a new backlash by hard-liners against their rivals before the seating of a new parliament. In the capital, Tripoli, escalating battles between militias Thursday prompted multiple foreign governments to scramble to get out their citizens as thousands of Libyans fled across the border into Tunisia.

The weeks-long surge of violence renewed fears that Libya, which has been in chaos since the 2011 civil war that ousted longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, is plunging deeper into civil strife.

With a crippled central government, and weak army and police, the country's numerous rival militias have held sway in Libya for the past three years. Though they battled one another frequently, a balance of fear among them prevented any from going too far and forced them to divide areas of power. But now, militias led by Islamist and extremist commanders appear to be trying to gain an upper hand.

The Health Ministry said in a statement Thursday that the death toll in Tripoli since the violence intensified in the past month reached 214, with more than 981 people wounded.

Libyan militias capture Benghazi in surge of violence 07/31/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 31, 2014 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series title puts Florida Gators in elite company

    College

    The Florida Gators put themselves in rare company with Tuesday night's College World Series national championship victory.

    Florida ace and Tampa native Alex Faedo (21) lets loose with his teammates after they win the Gators’ first baseball national title.
  2. Lightning prospects mantra: You never know when NHL chance will appear

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Brett Howden said he watched closely last season as former junior teammate Brayden Point made an remarkable rise to a Lightning regular in his first year pro.

    Lightning prospect Mikhail Sergachev skates during the Lightning Development Camp Wednesday at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  3. McConnell trying to revise the Senate health care bill by Friday

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aiming to send a revised version of his health care bill to the Congressional Budget Office as soon as Friday as he continues to push for a vote before Congress' August recess.

    Protesters rally against the Senate Republican health care bill Wednesday on the east front of the Capitol building.
  4. Police raise likely death toll in London high-rise blaze

    World

    LONDON — The number of people killed or presumed dead in the London high-rise fire has inched up to 80, but the final death toll may not be known for months, British police said at a grim briefing Wednesday.

  5. Rick Baker gives himself a "B" in 1st debate against Rick Kriseman

    Blogs

    Rick Baker gave himself a “B” in his first debate against Mayor Rick Kriseman.

    Rick Baker chats with supporters at a fundraiser at St. Petersburg Yacht Club Wednesday evening