By Noura Ibrahim.
Benghazi, 7 August 2014:
Operation Dignity forces claim to have killed 70 members last night of Ansar Al-Sharia and the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shoura Council who were trying to move toward the city’s Benina Airbase by a back road. They are said to have been killed in bombing raids on Magzaha, south east of the city.
Benina has been the main base for the Saiqa Special Forces since they were forced to withdraw from their Buatni headquarters nine days ago. Ansar and their allies are now targeting the airbase in an attempt to take it over and destroy Saiqa.
Air Force Brigadier-General Saqr Adam Geroushi, the commander of Operation Dignity’s air forces, confirmed to the Libya Herald that his planes last night had bombed Ansar forces in Magzaha as they were heading to Benina. He added that 17 other members of Ansar and the Revolutionaries Shoura Council, the umbrella body for Islamist forces in the city, had been captured and were being held by local people in Magzaha. The locals, he said, were gathering the bodies of the dead for burial.
Ansar were also reported to have taken some of its wounded to nearby Gemenis hospital which it reportedly now controls.
In Benghazi, Ansar have been tightening their grip on the Airport Road ahead of an expected assault on Benina. It has set up checkpoints on the road in addition to those in other areas in the city, including Buatni, Budaima, Hay Dollar, Hawari and Gwarsha, which it now effectively controls. Families living in the Hay Dollar have evacuated their homes in expectation of a fresh battle.
Meanwhile, the Red Crescent in Benghazi says that it has discovered another five bodies in Buatni and is now making a major search for others. The dead are presumed to have been killed in the shelling of the area by Ansar before Saiqa quit Buatni