July 6 (UPI) -- The leader of the Libyan National Army on Thursday declared victory in the battle for the city of Benghazi against Islamist militants linked to the Islamic State.
LNA leader field marshal Khalifa Haftar in a televised address said Benghazi was freed from "terrorism."
"Your armed forces declare to you the liberation of Benghazi from terrorism, a full liberation and a victory of dignity against terrorism," Haftar said, adding that only land mines and bombs are left to be cleared.
The battle for control of Benghazi started in 2014 and primarily has been a war waged between the LNA and the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, a militant Islamist coalition supported by the Islamic State.
Haftar said the LNA "congratulates the Libyan people and thanks all the backing forces and neighboring who supported us."
"Benghazi will enter a new era of security, stability, prosperity and peace. Displaced people will return home," Haftar added.
Libya, which does not have an established government in control of most of the country's territory, has been in conflict since its civil war in 2011, when longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi was killed by rebels backed by the United States and NATO. Haftar once worked as a commander for Gadhafi.
The LNA, which controls most of Libya, is not recognized by the U.N.-backed Libyan government in Tripoli. Haftar is accused of attempting to impose autocratic rule in Libya in his military effort to capture territory.