Middle East

Libyan general's forces lose 17 in push to take Benghazi

Forces loyal to a powerful Libyan general say they have lost 17 fighters in their two-day push to clear central parts of Benghazi from Islamists and their allies.

Riyadh al-Shahiebi, of the special forces media office, said Tuesday that troops loyal to Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter have entered the Souq al-Hout and Sabri areas, but their advance has been slowed by roadside bombs.

It was not immediately clear how many Islamists or other militants had been killed.

Hifter is allied with the internationally recognized parliament in eastern Libya and at odds with the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli.

Libya descended into chaos following the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The oil-rich nation now is split between rival governments and militias.