Benghazi (Libya), Jun 29 (AFP) Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar announced today the “liberation” of Derna, the only city in the eastern region beyond his control, from radical Islamist militias. Also Read - 7 Indians Kidnapped in Libya Released, to Return to Their Homes After Formalities: MEA

“We proudly announce the liberation of Derna, a city dear to all Libyans,” said Haftar in a televised speech. Also Read - Fears Rise as Libya FM Claims Women-Children Buried Alive by Haftar Forces, UN Chief Expresses Deep Shock as 8 Mass Graves Discovered

A spokesman for his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) earlier said troops stormed the last stronghold of the “al-Quaeda organisation” in the city centre. Also Read - No Military Intervention Needed in Libya, Say Italy And Egypt

The port city had been held by a ragtag alliance of Islamist and jihadist militias, including groups close to Al-Qaeda hostile to both Haftar and the Islamic State group.

The LNA launched an offensive on May 7 to seize the city, a coastal town of nearly 150,000 people, about 1,000 kilometres east of Tripoli.

Accused by his opponents of wanting to establish a new military dictatorship in Libya, Haftar supports a parallel government that rules over eastern Libya and challenges the authority of the UN-backed government based in Tripoli in the west. (AFP) CK CK

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.