In this photo taken on March 24, 2015, damaged homes line in a street in Benghazi, Libya. (AP Photo/Mohamed Salama)
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The old courthouse in central Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and the birthplace of the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi, is a shelled-out ruin – a testimony to the destruction and chaos that permeate this North African country four years after the civil war that ousted the longtime dictator.For Benghazi, the past year was the worst.More than a fifth of Benghazi's 630,000-strong population has been forced out of their homes.The city's residents also fear abductions at the hands of militiamen from the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, an umbrella group of hard-line militias that includes Ansar al-Shariah, which the U.S. blames for the September 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.Benghazi's descent into all-out war started in May 2014, when Libyan renegade Gen. Khalifa Hafter, once Gadhafi's army chief who later joined the opposition, launched an offensive against the militias blamed for a series of assassinations of the city's army officers, policemen, judges and journalists. He soon formally joined ranks with Libya's elected government and since then, Hafter's forces have taken back parts of Benghazi.
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