Libya declares curfew in violence-hit Benghazi

The Libyan authorities declared Thursday a curfew on the restive eastern city of Benghazi from midnight to 8 in the morning, Al Arabiya television reported.

Earlier, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan told reporters in Tripoli that “We envision taking security measures in coordination with the General National Congress... that could include a curfew if we consider it necessary.”

He added that the “army and police will be deployed in the streets and that draconian measures will be taken to maintain security.”

In the latest violence to hit the cradle of the 2011 revolt that ousted dictator Muammar Qaddafi, a car bomb killed a police officer in Benghazi on Tuesday.

“A bomb was planted in the car of Sergeant Salah Miftah Wizry,” a security official said. “The car exploded while he was coming home from a restaurant.”

On Monday, two policemen were hurt when an improvised bomb hit their car.

The number of attacks targeting military and police officers, including ones who served the former regime, has increased in recent weeks despite efforts by the new authorities to boost security in the Mediterranean city.

Benghazi has emerged as a hub for jihadist groups, including militants who killed US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in an attack on the US consulate last September 11.

Many diplomatic missions and international organisations, such as the United Nations, have scaled down or ended operations there after envoys were targeted.

Italy temporarily closed its consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday and pulled its staff out of the country following a failed gun attack on the consul.

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Last Update: Thursday, 17 January 2013 KSA 19:04 - GMT 16:04
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