Spokesperson says Haftar forces seize most of Libya’s Derna

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.

Spokesperson Ahmed al-Mesmari tells The Associated Press on Friday that LNA forces have captured “more than 75% of Derna and forced out terrorists from most of the city.”

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar 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 Gaddafi. 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 UN-backed government based in the capital, Tripoli.