Cairo (dpa) – The death toll in clashes and suicide attacks on anti-Islamist forces in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi has risen to 36, local media reported Friday.
Libyan news site Al-Wasat quoted an unnamed military source as saying that 36 army troops were killed when suicide bombers in three explosives-rigged cars blew themselves up at Benina Airport.
The airport, on the outskirts of the city, is the last stronghold of forces loyal to retired general Khalifa Haftar, who in May launched an offensive against Islamist militias in Benghazi.
The report quoted a medical source in Marj Hospital as saying that the hospital had received 31 bodies after the clashes as well as 107 wounded people.
Fears of nationwide civil strife in Libya have grown in recent months as the country’s plethora of militias line up behind two regional and political alliances.
Militias and allies, including forces from the powerful western city of Misrata, have taken control of the capital, Tripoli, and installed a government there to rival the one appointed by the internationally recognised parliament meeting in the eastern town of Tobruk.
A United Nations-brokered dialogue process is due to resume after the Eid al-Adha holiday, but it has been rejected by the Libya Dawn coalition controlling Tripoli.