Islamist militias in Libya's war-ravaged Benghazi have vowed to repel advancing pro-government forces who have been fighting them for nearly two weeks for control of the eastern city.

In a Tuesday statement, The Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, an umbrella group for the city's hard-line militias, vowed "it's time for the battle." They were addressing supporters of the former Libyan Gen. Khalifa Hifter, who unilaterally led an offensive against the militias in the spring.

Hifter and allied army units were forced to leave much of the city in August after militias overran army barracks. However on Oct. 15, he along with the internationally recognized government joined ranks and led an anti-Islamist offensive to retake the city.

Over the past days, the army units have been advancing inside Benghazi.