Smoke billows during clashes between security forces and armed groups near a Libyan army special forces barracks, on July 23, 2014, in the eastern city of Benghazi. AFP PHOTO / ABDULLAH DOMA
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At least nine people were killed and 19 wounded, mostly civilians, in heavy clashes overnight in Benghazi as government forces tried to oust Islamist militants holed up in Libya's eastern port city, medical sources said Thursday.The fighting late Wednesday involved aircraft and ground troops and followed more than a week of the fiercest clashes between militants, former rebel fighters and government forces in Benghazi and the capital Tripoli since the 2011 War against Moammar Gadhafi.Libya's western partners fear the country is becoming increasingly polarized between two main factions of competing militia brigades and their political allies, whose battle is shaping the country's transition.The other faction centers on the more Islamist-leaning Misrata brigades and allied militias who side with Justice and Construction Party, a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
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