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Clashes in eastern Libya after army commander's son abducted

CAIRO — Violent fighting erupted in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi between government forces and insurgents Thursday, hours after the son of a senior army commander was kidnapped, official news agency LANA reported.

The clashes broke out after insurgents shot at a military helicopter that was flying over the area of al-Qawarsha in western Benghazi, an unnamed security official told the agency.

There were no reports about casualties.

Security forces in Benghazi were put on alert after unknown gunmen kidnapped the son of the elite troops' commander, Colonel Wanis Abu Khamada, from a restaurant near Benghazi University, according to LANA.

No one has claimed responsibility for the abduction.

Benghazi, the birthplace of a 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Moamer Gaddafi, has seen frequent attacks by armed groups on government officials and foreign diplomats.

In September 2012, the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.

Libya's new leaders have been struggling to assert their authority and restore security in the North African country.

Former rebels who took part in the revolt against Gaddafi have resisted the Libyan authorities' efforts to disarm them.
 

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