By Libya Herald reporters.
Benghazi, 9 July 2015:
Heavy fighting broke out late tonight in Benghazi’s Leithi district as the army apparently counterattacked positions . . .[restrict]seized by Ansar Al-Sharia on Wednesday.
The attack was backed by two helicopters which strafed and launched missiles ahead of advancing troops. One strike appeared to hit an ammunition dump from which explosions continued after the original hit.
Earlier this evening, some 400 reinforcements from the army’s Saiqa formations had moved into the area along with three tanks and some artillery.
One focus of the counterattack is an area which was taken yesterday by forces led by Eizaldeen Nubs, a Benghazi native some of whose family have been close to Ansar. Despite official claims that the Ansar assault had gained no ground, local residents said that the militants had pushed into an area held by the army.
Tonight’s fighting comes at the end of a day of relative calm in the city, though that did not mean that tragedy was far away. A one month-old baby and a year-old child were killed in one of the regular salvoes fired at random from Ansar lines. The torn bodies of Joma Waleed and Lean Abdullah Bo Dabous, from Hay Shadaa Zawaia were taken to Jalaa hospital.
Ansar also celebrated their advances yesterday by posting pictures of the beheaded bodies of two Saiqa solders, one of which had been dumped in a wheelbarrow. It was unclear if these men had been decapitated when after they had been captured or if their bodies had been found and then mutilated.
UNSMIL chief Bernardino Leon has meanwhile strongly condemned the fighting. In a statement issued from Skirhat, Morocco where the Dialogue is resuming, Leon deplored the loss of ten civilian lives, including children. in this week’s fighting. He called for an immediate end to hostilities, repeating that there could be no military solution to Libya’s crisis. He also again warned that those who targeted civilians were war criminals and would face prosecution. [/restrict]