At least seven Libyan soldiers were killed repelling an attack on their post by Islamist militants on Monday in Benghazi.

A military source told newsmen that the attack occurred eight kilometres southwest of the city when troops from the Libyan National Army (LNA) engaged in a counter attack to prevent fighters loyal to Islamic State capturing tanks in the town of Annawaghia.

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“The forces of the Libyan National Army confronted the militants early this morning and forced them to withdraw,” the source said.

LNA forces, which support the internationally recognised government, have been battling since 2014 to control Benghazi against an alliance of an Islamist militants and former anti-Gaddafi rebels.

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The UN is trying to broker a broad peace agreement in Libya, and has drafted a preliminary agreement for a national power-sharing administration.

The recognised government has signed up to this but the unofficial Tripoli government has so far rejected it.

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Western powers say the deal is the only solution to Libya’s turmoil and are pressing for an accord as Islamic militant groups and migrant smugglers increasingly take advantage of the chaos.