11:07 GMT27 February 2021
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    Libyan forces besieged areas of Benghazi controlled by the group, which is suspected to be responsible for killing four US diplomatic staffers in the city in 2012.

    The army of Libya's internationally-recognized government has completely surrounded and besieged the Daesh-allied Ansar al-Sharia in the Libyan cities of Benghazi and Derna,  Iran's Fars News Agency reported on Monday.

    The Libyan Ansar al-Sharia militant group claimed responsibility for the killing of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others on September 11, 2012 amid protests against a US-made anti-Muslim film. The group reportedly pledged allegiance to Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) in March 2015, leading Libyan officials to consider it part of the group.

    "The ISIL militants have now been surrounded by the Libyan army in the cities of Benghazi and Derna," a Libyan source told Iran's Fars News Agency.

    According to Libyan army Colonel Abdullah al-Shafayee, who was cited by Fars, the group has been shut off from road access and now only has access to the coast in Benghazi.

    Also on Monday, a Libyan air force MiG-23 fighter jet fell into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Benghazi after being shot down, Reuters reported, while local media suggested that the crash was due to a malfunction. Libyan forces face a shortage of spare parts as a result of an international embargo.

    A UN-mediated settlement between the secular and Islamist faction of the Libyan Civil War was reached in December, although the political solution to the crisis has yet to be reached. The Islamist faction is based in the capital Tripoli, while the secular faction is based in Libya's second city of Benghazi. Daesh controls a coastal strip around the city of Sirte, located between territories controlled by the two chief factions.

    Earlier on Monday, Daesh militants attacked Libya's Es Sider oil port, killing two and guards and setting fire to a storage tank.


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    siege, Ansar al-Sharia (Libya), Libyan army, Libya, Benghazi
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