Editor's note: The House Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi echoes the findings of six previous congressional committee and State Department panel investigations, The Associated Press reports. An eighth investigation into the 2012 attack is being carried out by a House Select Committee. - Stephanie
Benghazi /bɛnˈɡɑːzi/ (Arabic: بنغازي Banghāzī; Italian: Bengasi) is the second largest city in Libya, the largest city in the region of Cyrenaica, and the former joint capital of Libya. In 2014, the city became Libya's constitutionally de facto legislative capital, although the country's parliament, the Majlis al Nuwwab, convened in Tobruk as of Summer 2014 because of poor security in Benghazi. Benghazi's wider metropolitan area (which includes the southern towns of Gimeenis and Suluq) is also a district of Libya. The port city is located on the Mediterranean Sea.
During the Kingdom era of Libya's history, Benghazi enjoyed a joint-capital status (alongside Tripoli), possibly because the King used to reside in the nearby city of Bayda and the Senussis (royal family) in general were associated with Cyrenaica rather than Tripolitania. The city was also provisional capital of the National Transitional Council. Benghazi continues to hold institutions and organizations normally associated with a national capital city, such as the country's parliament, national library, and the headquarters of Libyan Airlines, the national airline, and of the National Oil Corporation. This creates a constant atmosphere of rivalry and sensitivities between Benghazi and Tripoli, and by extension between the two regions (Cyrenaica and Tripolitania). The population of the entire district was 500,120 in the 1995 census and had increased to 670,797 in the 2006 census.
On 15 February 2011, an uprising against the government of Muammar Gaddafi occurred in the city. On 21 February, the city was taken by Gaddafi opponents, who founded the National Transitional Council days later. On 19 March it was the site of the turning point of the Libyan Civil War, when the Libyan Army attempted to score a decisive victory against the NTC by attacking Benghazi, but was forced back by local resistance and intervention from the French Air Force authorized by UNSC Resolution 1973 to protect civilians, allowing the rebellion to continue. On July 31, 2014, Ansar al-Sharia declared full control of Benghazi after a major offensive with the group seizing control of a major military barracks within the city, thereafter declaring an islamic emirate. In mid-October, the Libyan National Army launched an offensive to seize the city and reportedly managed to take control of 90% of Benghazi.