WASHINGTON — Islamist militancy and terrorism is on the rise in Libya and the country is being torn apart at the seams.
Reuters reported that Islamist militants attacked an army base in the eastern city of Benghazi on Monday. At least seven people were killed and additional 40 were wounded. The firefight also involved helicopters and jets.
Benghazi is the city where in 2011, Islamist militants successfully attacked an American consulate and killed four Americans (including the ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens). The details about the attack have not been made public by the Obama administration to this day. Check out our Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi for more details.
Also, the U.S. conducted a secret operation that caught the alleged mastermind of the consulate attacks and was criticized by the Libyan government for violating their sovereignty. Other recent events in Libya show how fractured the country is, with rebels taking a major port (and took a counterattack to dislodge them) and the country becoming a focus of weapons smuggling operations.
The attack on the army base came after militants battled army forces for the airport in Tripoli, which worried analysts about whether Libya will become a failed state sooner rather than later. The militants are aligned with al-Qaeda offshoot Ansar al-Sharia, and are being engaged by retired Libyan general Khalifa Haftar. Haftar has declared war on the militants with his group of fighters without the approval of the weak central government.