Libya: Government Takes Over Militia Bases After Deadly Clashes
Libyan authorities have taken control of militia bases in the eastern city of Benghazi, following unrest that left 11 people dead and more than 60 others wounded.
The clashes outside the jihadist militia compounds followed large-scale protests Friday in which tens of thousands of Libyan marched through Benghazi, demanding the dissolution of the militant groups.
The protesters ousted the jihadist militia Ansar al-Shariah from its headquarters, and seized the bases of other armed militias in Benghazi. Ansar al-Shariah has been linked to the assault that killed four Americans there last week, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. The group denies the allegation.
The United States said Saturday that anger against militias in Benghazi is a sign that Libyans are not prepared to allow extremists to dominate. Josh Earnest, a spokesman for the White House said it is the view of the U.S. administration that the Libyan people will not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob.
The four Americans were killed in Benghazi amid violent protests over a U.S.-made amateur movie that ridicules Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Demonstrations against the movie continue throughout the Muslim world.
Since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi, the militias have grown stronger – boasting arsenals of automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and pick-up trucks with heavy machine guns.