By Libya Herald reporters.
Benghazi, 8 July 2015;
The sporadic fighting that began yesterday in Benghazi today developed into a major offensive by . . .[restrict]militants which claimed the lives of at least 16 army soldiers and injured 52 more. In response, the Air Force has flown airstrikes throughout the day.
An unknown number of attackers also died as violent clashes developed in Leithi along Shara Al-Hijaz. There was also a thrust by the terrorists from Leithi toward the Airport Road. In addition there was renewed fighting in the Sabri district. Both Leithi and Sabri were targeted by government warplanes in several air-to-ground attacks.
Among the army injured was Fadel Hassi the head of Special Forces Investigation Unit who sustained minor wounds in the fighting in Shara Hijaz. He was allowed to leave hospital after treatment.
A source at the Saiqa Special forces angrily denied that in the last 24 hours Ansar Al-Sharia forces had made any headway in Leithi, which army commander General Khalifa Hafter has repeatedly vowed would shortly fall to government forces. However one witness insisted to the Libya Herald that militants had definitely made advances in the last 48 hours.
He said: “Islamists believe that fighting in Ramadan is blessed and that if they die fighting in the Holy Month, they are assured of going to heaven.”
Meanwhile civilians are also continuing to pay a high price in the fighting. One man was killed and three injured when a mortar round exploded near the entrance to Jelaa Hospital, which had many of its windows blown out in the blast. Two more civilians were injured when mortars, aeemingly fired at random landed in the Hay Al-Zawia district. [/restrict]