At least five Libyan soldiers have been killed in Benghazi where Libyan special forces have clashed with armed protestors after the demonstrators attacked army and police building.
Heavy gunfire and blasts could be heard near the headquarters of the special forces early Saturday, an AFP journalist and witnesses reported. The interim leader of Libya's army, Salem al-Konidi warned of the danger of a "bloodbath" late on Friday as the turmoil in the city where more than 30 people killed last week erupted again. "If the special forces are attacked, there will be a bloodbath,” said Salem al-Konidi on the Al-Aseema television channel. "There could be a catastrophe in Benghazi," he added. The clashes came hours after protesters took over a brigade of former rebel fighters, known as the First Infantry Brigade, and forced them to quit their base in Benghazi on Friday evening. On June 8, nearly 30 people were killed and several others injured in clashes between protesters and armed militiamen in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. Since the overthrow of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the Libyan government has been struggling to tackle the presence of armed militias. Libyans rose up against Gaddafi’s four-decade rule in February 2011 and deposed him in August 2011. He was slain on October 20 of the same year. Benghazi was the birthplace of the 2011 uprising. It has been the scene of numerous attacks and assassinations over the past year as the power struggles between militiamen have intensified.