A new round of fighting between militants and "renegade" armed forces in Benghazi has caused families to flee and led to new concerns over restoring peace in the city.
On Sunday, retired general Khalifa Haftar led the new round of fighting against the Islamic militants, reports Reuters. Haftar has been rallying forces, which includes jets and helicopters, to fight the militants without the authority of Libya's government. Haftar's forces attacked Ansar al-Sharia, identified as an extremist group by U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and other militant groups in the area.
Mohamed El Hejazi, Haftar's spokesman, said, "There are now heavy clashes in Sidi Faraj and al-Hawari (in western Benghazi). Our forces are attacking with tanks and rocket launchers," reports Reuters. Haftar's war against the militants began last month and has killed more than 100 people, notes a June 10 report from Reuters.
The recent round of fighting is especially troubling as Libya works to restore peace following the coup of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Parliamentary Elections are scheduled for June 25 and Haftar has agreed to a ceasefire. El Hejazi said in a statement, "To allow Libyans to vote in the parliamentary election set for June 25 Haftar's forces agreed to a truce that day brokered by a committee of wisemen."