By Moutaz Ahmed and Aymen Amzein.
Benghazi, 16 May 2014:
At least 14 people and possibly 26 are reported to have been killed . . .[restrict]in the fighting in Benghazi today between forces led by General Khalifa Hafter on the one side and 17 February Brigade, Libya Shield No. 1 Brigade and Ansar Al-Sharia on the other.
The number of wounded is put at between 91 by Benghazi Medical Centre (BMC) and 146 in other reports.
According to the BMC, it had nine dead, of whom seven had so far been identified, and a further nine injured. Jelaa Hospital said it had one dead and 29 injured and Marj Hospital four dead and 16 injured. The Marj figures could be higher, however. The figure was given earlier in the day and it has been impossible to get in touch with it since.
It is being used as one of the main medical centres for treating Hafter’s forces.
Hawari Hospital, near the fighting, decided to move patients with heart problems to Hawari Heart Centre to free up bed space in the expectation that more wounded wold be brought in.
Numbers for dead among the two brigades and Ansar are equally difficult to pin down. The Libyan news agency LANA reported that one member of Ansar, named as Feisal Ben Jamia, was killed and four injured in an air strike attack on its base.
Among the dead, according to Jelaa Hospital spokesperson Fadia Barghathi, was 16-year-old Khalifa Juma El Madoli who was killed by a stray bullet while looking out of the window at his home in Hay Shuhada Al-Zawia, near Leithe district. It is claimed that as a result, angry neighbours were now supporting the Hafter forces.
These appear to have suffered a setback during the day, with the cement factory, which they reportedly captured from Ansar this morning lost to the Islamists later in the day.
According to LANA, the 17 February Brigade also claimed to have shot down a helicopter used in the attacks, but there has been no independent conformation.
This evening, with all shops shut and the city virtually closed down – including the internet for much of the day (supposedly by a short circuit), residents fear further fighting before dawn.
They say they are trying to get through the crisis as best they can. [/restrict]