Three Libyan soldiers killed in Benghazi clashes: army

BENGHAZI: At least three soldiers were killed as special forces clashed with armed activists in the eastern port city of Benghazi early Saturday, the army reported.

The interim leader of Libya's army warned of the danger of a “bloodbath” as the unrest in the city flared up again a week after clashes there killed more than 30 people.

At around 4:00 am heavy gunfire and explosions could be heard near the headquarters of the special forces, not far from the city centre, an AFP journalist and witnesses reported.

The clashes came just hours after dozens of protesters forced a brigade of former rebel fighters from their base in Benghazi on Friday evening.

The protesters had burned two vehicles belonging to the First Infantry Brigade, before moving on the barracks, said a Libyan army officer.

The brigade was set up by former rebel fighters who helped overthrow the regime of Muammar Qadhafi in 2011. It says it takes its orders from the defence ministry.

Following that first attack, Salem al-Konidi, the interim head of the army said on the Al-Aseema television channel late Friday: “If the special forces are attacked, there will be a bloodbath...

“There could be a catastrophe in Benghazi.”

He said he did not know who had launched the attack or what their motive was, but appealed to the city's elders and dignitaries to act to try to head off the unrest.

Konidi is the interim replacement for General Yusef al-Mangoush, who resigned last Sunday, a day after fighting in Bengazhi killed 31 people and left dozens more wounded.

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