Libyan gunmen storm Benghazi security HQ

Libyan security forces are seen advancing during clashes with anti-government forces following an attack on a Benghazi police station, early on 2 May 2014

The fighting spread to several districts as government special forces intervened

Gunmen in the Libyan city of Benghazi have raided a security headquarters, sparking clashes in which five people died, military sources have said.

The raid took place in the early hours of the morning and at least 10 others were wounded in the fighting that went on for more than an hour afterwards.

Army officials told the Reuters news agency that the attackers were believed to be members of an Islamist militia.

Benghazi has been plagued by violence since the 2011 uprising.

It ended Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, but the government has since been struggling to control and disarm the numerous armed groups and militias who took part in the civil war.

According to the AFP news agency, it was five soldiers who died in the early morning battle.

Special forces intervened to evict the gunmen and the fighting spread to several districts, the agency reports.

Armed men also attacked the apartment of Benghazi’s security chief, Col Ramadan al-Wahishi, but he was not hurt, a security official told Reuters.

The latest violence comes three days after a car bomb exploded at the gates of a military barracks near the airport, killing two soldiers.

Benghazi was the cradle of the uprising against Col Gaddafi, but has since been a focal point for attacks on public institutions and officials.

It is the largest city in eastern Libya, where some groups and Islamist militias want more autonomy and a greater share of the region’s oil wealth.

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