CAIRO – The self-styled Libyan National Army says its forces have seized most of the western coastal city of Derna from extremist groups who have controlled it for years.
Spokesman Ahmed al-Mesmari tells The Associated Press on Friday that LNA forces have captured "more than 75 percent of Derna and forced out terrorists from most of the city."
Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, who leads the LNA, announced in May that his forces launched a military operation aimed at "liberating" Derna from extremist groups. Hifter's forces have surrounded the city of 150,000 people for years.
Libya descended into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled ruler Moammar Gadhafi. The country is now split between rival governments in the east and west, each backed by an array of militias. Hifter is allied with the east-based administration that is at odds with the U.N.-backed government based in the capital, Tripoli.