Armed groups claimed to have taken control of Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi, after defeating units loyal to a renegade general, taking over their barracks and seizing tanks, rockets and hundreds of boxes of ammunition.

The main police headquarters was on Thursday still smouldering after it was hit by shelling a day earlier, and smoke rose from the barracks of al-Saiqa soldiers loyal to General Khalifa Haftar, once the strongest security body in the city until it was overrun earlier this week.

The armed groups’ sweep through Benghazi was a heavy reversal for Haftar, who for months had led his loyalists in a self-declared campaign to stamp out “terrorists” and “extremists.”

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