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Libyan National Army: Jihadists 'Conclusively Cleared' from Benghazi

The Libyan National Army reports that after more than three years of fighting the al-Qaeda-linked Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council and ISIS, the last of the jihadists were wiped out of Benghazi today.

The LNA announced on its Facebook page that the city has been “conclusively cleared of extremists,” according to Libya’s Al-Hadath TV.

The Libya Herald reported that the LNA overran the last extremist holdouts in Benghazi’s Sabri district: Gumhoriya Hospital and an unfinished Hyatt Regency hotel. Troops had also surrounded gunmen in the Sidi Akribesh area.

LNA troops discovered a building where jihadists had been storing their dead, the Herald added. The bodies were being transferred to the Benghazi Medical Centre mortuary.

“Overnight the LNA had brought up more men and armoured vehicles for the final assault. It appears to have been overwhelming. In the course of the advance, troops overran the militants’ weapons and ammunition store,” continued the Herald report. “Though there were still mines and booby traps to contend with, it seems that in their swift retreat the militants had less time to set them up.”

Late last month, Benghazi police found a stash of historical books and more than 30 collections of manuscripts — some more than 600 years old — that ISIS stole from the Benghazi University library.

Whereas ISIS has often torched the contents of libraries, they were apparently hoping to make a buck off the Benghazi trove and had buried the works in the courtyard of a house in Ganfouda where ISIS and Benghazi Revolutionaries Shoura Council members had been staying, according to Libya Herald.

Lt. Col. Ashraf Al-Faidi, head of the investigation department at Benghazi Security Directorate, said through interrogation they learned some of the stolen collection had been shipped to Istanbul for sale.

Investigators are going to try to track the artifacts smuggled out of the country.