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Libya strongman advances in battle to take eastern city

AFP  |  Benghazi (Libya) 

Forces loyal to Libyan strongman said today they are advancing rapidly on the eastern city of Derna, despite troops being hit by suicide attacks.

Haftar has vowed to "liberate" Derna, an Islamist stronghold that is home to more than 120,000 people and the only eastern city outside of his control.

But as his self-styled continued its offensive on Tuesday, two explosions were heard as suicide bombers hit forces in the southern Shiha district.

Without giving a toll for the attack, LNA said civilians were among the casualties as the roof of a family home collapsed.

Last night, he said, another suicide attack killed two LNA fighters and wounded three.

The LNA was "advancing steadily to liberate a very small remaining pocket before liberating the whole of Derna," he added.

Abidi said "terrorists" were "resorting to suicide attacks after they failed to tackle" the LNA conventionally.

is held by a ragtag alliance of Islamist and jihadist militias, including groups close to Al-Qaeda, hostile to both Haftar and the Islamic State group.

The city is located more than 1,000 kilometres east of the capital and around 300 kilometres east of second city Benghazi.

Haftar has struggled to succeed in the fight against insurgents, according to from the

"I am not sure that this operation will bring a quick victory for him in military terms. In social terms it is already a disaster," she said.

Since the start of the offensive on May 7, residents have faced and medicine shortages, as well as cuts to electricity, water and phone lines.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, June 13 2018. 01:40 IST