8 killed, 7 of them children, in rocket strike in Libya’s Benghazi

Eight people were killed, including seven children, when a rocket hit a residential building in the city of Benghazi in eastern Libya on Thursday, medics said, two days after a similar attack claimed by Islamic State militants.

A Reuters reporter saw several dead children in a hospital in the city, the oil-producing North African state’s second largest, where army forces and Islamist factions have been fighting each other for a year.

The other person killed in Thursday’s rocket strike was an adult whose gender was not immediately known, medics said, and 11 people were wounded.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, which came after four children were killed on Tuesday by a mortar round in the port city. Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for that attack, according to a Twitter message.

Benghazi has been a battlefield for a year between army forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, who supports Libya’s international recognised Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, and Islamist groups.

The battle is part of wider conflict between former rebels groups who helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but have now fallen out along tribal, regional and political lines.

Islamic State militants have exploited the security vacuum as two rival governments fight each other, with neither side able to turn the tables. The militants have killed dozens of foreign Christians and attacked oil fields and a luxury hotel in the capital Tripoli, 1,000 km (625 miles) west of Benghazi.

Thinni was forced to flee Tripoli last August when a rival group seized the city and set up a rival administration backing the Benghazi-based Islamist groups.

Army forces have regained some districts of Benghazi lost last year, but the port and several other areas are still dominated by the umbrella Islamist movement Majlis al-Shura.

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