Libya government urges end to Benghazi clashes

Libya's interim government on Sunday called for a halt to an on-off battle between a renegade general and Islamists that has wracked the eastern city of Benghazi for the past two months.

"In light of the dramatic situation of civilians of Benghazi living in fear and terror because of unjustifiable fighting, the government calls on all parties to the conflict to leave the city and to immediately stop fighting," it said in a statement.

The cabinet of interim prime minister Abdullah al-Thani said it had "ordered the security services... to take the necessary measures to restore stability" in Benghazi.

The Mediterranean city, birthplace of the 2011 revolution which ousted longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, has been tense since renegade general Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive against powerful Islamist groups in mid-May, drawing many regular army units to his side.

More than 100 people have since been killed.

In violence in Tripoli on Sunday, armed groups battled for several hours for control of a western entrance to the capital, without any immediate report of casualties.

Several cars and buildings were damaged in the residential district of Regata, in what a security official said was a showdown between an armed group from the town of Zintan and a rival militia based in Janzur, a western suburb of Tripoli.

bra-ila/hc/hkb