Middle East

3 Libya soldiers killed in clashes with Islamists: hospital

Security forces patrol a street in the city of Benghazi on June 25, 2014 as Libyans vote in a parliamentary election. Libyans are voting in a parliamentary election the authorities hope will end political turmoil and deadly violence that has gripped the country since the ouster of dictator Moamer Kadhafi. AFP PHOTO / ABDELLAH DOMA

BENGHAZI, Libya: At least three Libyan soldiers were killed in clashes Wednesday with Islamists in the eastern city of Benghazi, a medic said, as the country voted in parliamentary elections aimed at ending chronic violence.

"We have received the bodies of three soldiers and seven more wounded," said Khalil Gouider, spokesman for the Benghazi Medical Centre.

Security services spokesman Ibrahim al-Charaa said an army convoy en route to provide security for a polling station in the southern district of Al-Houari had been attacked by the Rafallah al-Sahati Islamist group.

In contrast, the group said on its Facebook page that the convoy had withdrawn after "provoking" its fighters and that there had been no casualties.

Meanwhile, witnesses said warplanes controlled by rogue former general Khalifa Haftar had bombed the Rafallah al-Sahati headquarters.

Both Haftar, who launched an anti-Islamist campaign last month that has taken hundreds of lives, and his foes had said they would observe a truce during the election.

Officials said the violence did not interrupt voting in the flashpoint city, cradle of the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi.





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