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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

11 beheaded in attack on Libya checkpoint: pro-Haftar forces

At least 11 people were beheaded south of the Libyan capital on Wednesday in an attack on a checkpoint controlled by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's forces, a spokesman for the forces said.

Colonel Ahmad Al Mesmari blamed ISIL for the killings which happened at dawn in Al Jufra region about 500 kilometres south of Tripoli. "At least nine soldiers were beheaded … in addition to two civilians," he said.

No group has yet claimed responsibility. The Libyan National Army, which is led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, seized the area - including a key military air base — in June from the Benghazi Defence Brigades coalition. The militia grouping includes Islamists driven out of Libya's second city by Field Marshal Haftar's forces last month.

Analysts and military sources say ISIL remains active in Libya, particularly in the south, despite losing its stronghold of Sirte on the Mediterranean coast in December 2016.

Libya has been rocked by chaos since the 2011 fall and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Extremists, arms dealers and people traffickers have gained a foothold in Libya as multiple authorities and dozens of militias vie for power.

The Libyan National Army is aligned with the elected House of Representatives parliament in the east of the country. The parliament has refused to recognise the UN-backed government based in Tripoli.

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