A vehicle drives in a deserted road as smoke billows during clashes between soldiers and Islamists who control Benghazi, the country's second biggest city, on October 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO/STR
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Egypt is deepening its involvement in the fight against Islamist militias who have taken over key parts of Libya, with officials saying Egyptian warplanes have bombed their positions in the eastern city of Benghazi.The two officials, who have firsthand knowledge of the operation, said the use of the aircraft was part of an Egyptian-led campaign against the militiamen that will eventually involve Libyan ground troops recently trained by Egyptian forces. The officials said the operation also involves the use of an Egyptian navy vessel as a command center off the Mediterranean shore of Tobruk.Libyan lawmaker Tareq al-Jorushi confirmed to the AP that Egyptian warplanes were taking part in the ongoing operation in Benghazi, but said that they were being flown by Libyan pilots.Earlier Wednesday, a top Islamist militia commander based in Benghazi accused Cairo of sending warplanes to hit his group's positions.How much mandate Haftar has over the operation is questionable since Egyptian officials insisted that he is out of the picture after earlier being beaten back by the militias.Residents contacted by telephone said they saw warplanes striking camps of several Islamist militias fighting under an umbrella group called the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries.
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