Libya’s army said Wednesday it had thrown its weight behind renegade former general Khalifa Haftar after his forces launched a new assault to retake the country’s second city Benghazi from Islamist militias.

Gunfire could be heard in several districts across the eastern port city from early morning Wednesday, a day after Haftar vowed to “liberate” Benghazi from the Islamists, who have seized control of large parts of the turmoil-gripped country.

Witnesses said tanks had launched an assault against an Islamist militia known as the “February 17 Martyrs Brigade,” while warplanes carried out raids on the group, whose headquarters is located west of the city. […]