BENGHAZI, Libya, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Eastern Libyan forces have killed a senior Al Qaeda commander in southern Libya, a military spokesman said on Friday, days after launching an operation in the south to secure oil and gas assets and fight militants.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) faction killed Abu Talha al-Libi, a commander in Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), together with two other militants, among them one Egyptian, in southwestern Libya, LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari said.
Al Qaeda and other militant groups have been using southern Libya as their base for attacks inside Libya and neigbouring countries, exploiting a security vacuum which emerged after the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 rebellion backed by NATO air strikes.
The country now has competing governments operating in the east and west.
Reuters could not independently verify that Libi had been killed. (Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli Writing by Ulf Laessing Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)