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Fierce fighting kills 18 in Libya's Benghazi

People gather at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering Technology following an air raid that missed its target in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on June 1, 2014Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) – Fierce fighting between Islamists and a rogue Libyan general killed at least 18 people in Benghazi on Monday, triggering fears of an all-out war as hospitals urged citizens to donate blood. Officials at hospitals in the eastern city, the birthplace of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi, said at least 11 soldiers were among the dead and that 81 people were wounded. An air force commander said the clashes erupted when three Islamist groups, including Ansar al-Sharia, attacked a base of elite forces who support the renegade general, Khalifa Haftar. The fighting was the bloodiest since 76 people were killed in mid-May when Haftar unleashed an offensive dubbed “Operation Dignity” to purge Libya of Islamists he brands “terrorists”.

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