2 militia bases reported taken in Libya

Sept. 22, 2012 at 5:47 PM
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BENGHAZI, Libya, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Libyan government forces secured two bases in Benghazi Saturday after fighting in which at least nine people were killed, authorities said.

Four people were killed and dozens were injured at a base where government-allied forces took control of a base formerly operated by the Rafallah al-Sahati militia, Libyan state television reported. A hospital in Benghazi reported receiving the bodies of five others Saturday, all of them apparently Libyan soldiers who had been shot in the head near the base, The Washington Post said.

The clashes came after Libyans protesting the Sept. 11 killing of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi took over the Islamist militia headquarters Friday, saying they are the "real Libya."

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Benghazi to express their disgust for the assault by Islamic militants, CNN reported.

"I am sorry, America," one man said. "This is the real Libya."

Several hundred protesters marched to the headquarters of Ansar al-Shariah and asked Libyan troops to take over the building. The protesters then set one vehicle on fire and chased the militants away without firing a single shot, CNN said.

Militia members loyal to the Libyan government lingered Saturday at the ransacked Ansar al-Shariah base, the Post said.

The president of Libya's General National Congress, Mohamed al-Magariaf, thanked protesters Friday for facilitating the eviction of "armed groups."

Benghazi is viewed as the birthplace of the movement that eventually led to the ouster and death of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

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