Cairo: A Libyan Army spokesman says armed militants have shot and killed 17 soldiers and one civilian at a checkpoint.
Mohammed Hegazi told a news agency that the attack occurred yesterday in the central district of Jufra. He blamed the attacks on "terrorists roaming the desert areas freely."
Widespread militia violence has plunged Libya into chaos less than four years after a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Islamic extremist militias are battling troops in the second largest city of Benghazi in the west. Other militias have taken over the eastern city of Darna and the capital Tripoli.