Nation & world briefs, Aug. 1
Extremist militias declare control of city
Islamic hard-line militias, including the group accused by the United States in a 2012 attack that killed the ambassador and three other Americans, claimed control of Libya’s second-largest city, Benghazi, after overrunning army barracks and seizing heavy weapons.
The sweep in the eastern city is part of a new backlash by hard-liners against their rivals ahead of the sitting of a new parliament. In the capital Tripoli, escalating battles yesterday between militias prompted multiple foreign governments to scramble to get out their citizens as thousands of Libyans fled across the border into Tunisia.
The weekslong surge of violence renewed fears that Libya, which has been in chaos since the 2011 civil war that ousted longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, is plunging deeper into civil strife.
With a crippled central government and weak army and police forces, the country’s numerous rival militias have held sway in Libya for the past three years. Though they battled each other frequently, a balance of fear among them prevented any from going too far and forced them to divide areas of power. But now, the militias led by Islamist and extremist commanders appear to be trying to gain a more decisive upper hand.
The Health Ministry said in a statement yesterday that the death toll in Tripoli since the violence intensified in the past month reached 214, with more than 981 people wounded.
Home owned by Trump holdout sells at auction
An Atlantic City-area real estate figure has bought at auction a property that earned its owner near-folk hero status for resisting decades of overtures from developers including Donald Trump.
Joshua Olshin of AuctionAdvisors said Vera Coking’s modest three-story boardinghouse sold yesterday afternoon for $530,000 plus 10 percent commission. Olshin says that bidding was active and that the winner wishes to remain anonymous.
Coking is 86 and has moved to California to be near family. She rebuffed repeated offers from Trump and an attempted state takeover of her property.
Trump said earlier this week he had once offered Coking millions of dollars and housing for life if she would sell.