BENGHAZI, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Heavy fighting broke out on Friday between the Libyan army and the armed groups in Libya's second largest city of Benghazi.
One witness said one of the army led by retired Major General Khalifa Haftar launched an attack at dawn on city's Islamist armed groups "in order to purge the city from terrorists."
Hafatar's spokesman Mohammed Hijazi said in a statement that " the national army is in the process of purging Benghazi by diminishing various terrorist groups, codenamed Operation Dignity. "
Hijazi added that Khalifa's fighters had shelled many Islamist militant bases including Ansar Al-Sharia's compound. The official LANA said light and heavy arms were used during the clashes and heavy casualties were caused.
Benghazi was the birthplace of the 2011 uprising against Gaddafi. The city witnessed a drastic escalation of violence and has become a major base of extremists in North Africa since the U. S. ambassador to Libya was killed in 2012.
The interim government has also failed to confiscate the weapons and ammos spread all over the country, which make it a major threat to the security of people.