At least 13 killed in Benghazi bombing

An explosive-packed vehicle rammed into an army checkpoint outside Benghazi

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An explosive-packed vehicle killed at least 13 people as a suicide bomber rammed it into an army checkpoint outside the city of Benghazi in Libya on Sunday, the government said.

“This treacherous act comes as the Libyan army, and particularly the Saiqa special forces unit, is trying to establish security... namely in Benghazi,” cradle of the uprising, the government said in statement.

The bombing also wounded three people, leaving two of them in serious condition, and three other people are listing as missing, the statement said, updating an earlier toll.

The death toll was likely to rise as authorities identified body parts scattered around the area after the attack, added Agouri.

“Seven bodies among the victims have been identified but some other bodies were torn to pieces by the explosion,” he said. Agouri was working at the checkpoint but managed to escape the attack uninjured.

Car bombs and assassinations of army and police officers are common in Benghazi, where troops have clashed regularly with militants from the hardline Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia.

But a suicide bombing would mark a shift in tactics to fit a pattern common in other Islamist struggles in the Middle East, but not in Libya either during or since the uprising that brought down Muammar Qaddafi.

The attacker blew himself up in front of the military base in Barsis, some 50 km (30 miles) outside Benghazi.

“A Toyota truck approached the checkpoint and parked there. There was a young man driving, but when the army troops went to check it out, the vehicle exploded,” said Aymen al-Abdlay, a Benghazi army officer, Reuters reported.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The checkpoint had previously received several threats since arresting four people who were carrying weapons, explosives, and a hit-list in November, Fraj al-Abdelli, the security post’s chief said.

On Friday, the head of military intelligence in Benghazi was shot dead during a visit to his family in the nearby town of Derna.

Benghazi, the city from which the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Muammar Qaddafi stemmed, saw a series of attacks in recent months resulting in over 300 deaths.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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