Libyan militia takes control of radical Islamist city

Published: June 29, 2018 19:09:30 | Updated: June 30, 2018 17:21:33

Libyan militia leader Khalifa Haftar says that his forces now fully control the coastal city of Derna - until now the last radical Islamist stronghold in the east of the country.

Gen Haftar declared what he called the liberation of Derna in a televised speech, says a BBC report.

“This victorious day we announce proudly the liberation of the city of Derna and its safe return to this nation's bosom. The banner of terrorism is lowered by your victories, to be replaced by the banner of peace and tranquillity, despite the terrorists and those who support them."

There's been no independent confirmation, but it follows an intense six-week siege by his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which is supported by Egypt.

Derna's population of more than 120,000 civilians is suffering from severe shortages of water, food and medicine.

Gen Haftar is one of the most powerful strongmen in Libya since he captured the main eastern city of Benghazi last year.

He supports a rival government to the UN-backed Libyan authority based in the capital, Tripoli.

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