Jul 15, 12:53 PM EDT

Popular Libyan army commander killed in Benghazi battle

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Popular Libyan army commander killed in Benghazi battle

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BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) -- Libyan officials say a popular army commander has been killed in battle in the eastern city of Benghazi after opposing militiamen hit his position with a rocket.

A statement Wednesday by health authorities says 1st Sgt. Salem Alniali, a longtime enemy of radical extremist groups, "died in battle with severe head injuries caused by shrapnel." It added that four of his comrades were wounded in the same incident.

Alniali's father had been kidnapped and killed by extremists two years ago.

Meanwhile in New York, U.N. envoy Bernardino Leon briefed the Security Council on Libya, saying that the situation continues to deteriorate. He welcomed, however, a recent framework for further peace talks agreed in Morocco.

Libya has slid into chaos since the 2011 overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

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