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Germany warns citizens to leave Libya after deaths of 38 in clashes

Cashes broke out yesterday when Islamist groups launched an assault on the headquarters of a special forces unit

Image: AP/Press Association Images

GERMANY HAS BECOME the latest country to warn its citizens to get away from Libya and its escalating violence.

At least 38 people, mostly soldiers, were killed in 24 hours of fierce fighting between the Libyan army and Islamists in Benghazi, officials said today.

A military source said the clashes broke out yesterday when Islamist groups launched an assault on the headquarters of a special forces unit near the city centre, causing casualties among forces defending their barracks.

Benghazi’s main hospital said the bodies of 28 soldiers had been taken there in the past 24 hours, along with 50 injured, while Al-Marj hospital, 100 kilometres to the east, spoke of two soldiers dead and ten injured.

A spokesman for the self-proclaimed Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, an alliance of Islamic and jihadist militia who have claimed a number of attacks on military bases in the area, announced that eight of its fighters had died.

An AFP correspondent reported that several families could be seen leaving the area of the clashes, as loud explosions were heard in the city this morning. Near daily clashes take place in Benghazi and the latest came a day after the US evacuated its embassy in Tripoli due to fears for the safety of staff and as Britain joined the Americans in advising its citizens against travel to strife-torn Libya.

Germany has now joined these countries and many others that have warned citizens about the dangers they face in the country.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs had already advised against travel to Libya and warned Irish citizens to leave immediately.

- © AFP 2014 with additional reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

Read: US shuts its embassy in Libya and evacuates staff amid violent clashes>

Read: Special forces have captured the suspected ringleader behind the Benghazi attack>

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