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BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — The leader of Libya’s self-styled national army in the east says forces have seized the eastern city of Derna from extremist groups.

Strongman Khalifa Hifter made the announcement in a televised address late Thursday, saying: “We proudly announce the liberation of the city of Derna.”

In May, Hifter announced the launch of a military operation aimed at “liberating” Derna from extremist groups, led by the Derna Protection Forces, an alliance of Islamists and anti-Hiftar fighters. Derna has been under the control of extremists for years.

Libya descended into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and later killed a long-time ruler.

The country is now split between rival governments in the east and west, each backed by an array of militias.