75 bodies discovered in Benghazi

People look at the wreckage of a government MiG warplane which crashed during Tuesday's fighting, in Benghazi, in this July 29, 2014 photo.

People look at the wreckage of a government MiG warplane which crashed during Tuesday’s fighting, in Benghazi, in this July 29, 2014 photo.

BENGHAZI: At least 75 bodies, mostly soldiers, have been found in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi after two days of fighting in which fighters and allied militiamen overran an army base, the Libyan Red Crescent and medical sources said.

The Red Crescent found more than 50 bodies inside the base, which special forces abandoned on Tuesday. “We are trying to get them out of the base,” said Mohammed Al-Misrati, from the Red Crescent.

Sources in the city’s hospitals said they had received at least 25 other bodies.

The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm in Libya says an attack by militias on the capital’s airport is a “legitimate” response to an offensive by a renegade general.

The comments by Mohammed Sawan to The Associated Press on Wednesday were a strong show of support for militias trying to wrest control of the airport from a rival militia.

Sawan said the assault was in response to a months-long offensive by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, who has being trying to crush militias in Libya, mainly in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Firefighters were battling to douse a huge blaze at a petrol depot near the airport in the Libyan capital for the fourth day on Wednesday, the Oil Ministry said.

The latest efforts to contain the inferno came a day after the government said the situation was “out of control.”

The fire erupted on Sunday when a rocket hit a tank containing more than six million liters of fuel as rival militias battled for control of the city’s airport.

“The operations to put out the fire on the hydrocarbon reservoirs … are continuing as necessary,” senior ministry official Samir Kamal said, without giving further details.

The ministry appealed late on Tuesday to private and public companies that own water trucks to gather their vehicles on Wednesday morning near the depot to provide firefighters with water.

Emergency services rapidly found themselves running low on water as they fought the blaze, in addition to disruption caused by nearby fighting between militias. The huge fuel tanks were still burning on Wednesday, after being hit by rockets fired in clashes along Tripoli’s airport road.

More than 90 million liters of fuel are stored in the facility, which also houses a natural gas reservoir.

 
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