Libya’s Haftar after assassination bid: ‘I am well’

General Khalifa Haftar speaks during a news conference in Abyar, a small town to the east of Benghazi, May 31, 2014. (Reuters)

Libyan renegade general Khalifa Haftar said on Wednesday he was slightly injured following an assassination attempt when a suicide attack targeted his residence in the eastern city of Benghazi.


“I am well,” he told Libya’s Al Oula television station. “There will be a strong response.”

A suicide bomber earlier on Wednesday blew up a jeep loaded with explosive near Haftar’s base outside Benghazi.

Hours later, Libyan air force bombed positions of al-Qaeda inspired Ansar al-Sharia militant group in Benghazi.

Haftar has been leading an offensive against Islamist militias in the country.

The bomber drove up to his residence and detonated his explosives-laden vehicle when guards stopped him at the compound’s gate.
According to the officials, four people died in the attack, along with the bomber, and at least three were wounded.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

A former army chief under the late dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Hafter and army units loyal to him have been battling Islamist militias, mainly in eastern Libya, the Associated Press reported.

Red Cross official shot dead

Meanwhile, gunmen shot dead a Swiss national working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), fired a grenade at the prime minister’s office and tried to kill a renegade general in a series of attacks on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

“The Swiss head of a sub-delegation of the ICRC was shot dead by unknown gunmen while he was leaving a meeting in Sirte with another two ICRC members,” said Salah Uddin, spokesman for the ICRC in Libya.

And in the capital Tripoli, gunmen fired a rocket propelled grenade at the office of Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq.

Nobody was hurt when the grenade hit the kitchen on the same floor as Maiteeq’s office, an aide said, noting that the premier was not there at the time.

Maiteeq was elected by parliament last month in a chaotic vote that many lawmakers disputed. Outgoing Premier Abdullah al-Thinni has refused to hand over power, saying he wants to wait for a legal ruling on whether Maiteeq’s election was legitimate.

In an attempt to reinforce his authority, Maiteeq took over the premier’s office on Monday night, backed by a police escort.

Qaddafi’s one-man rule and years of unrest since have left Libya with few functioning institutions and no credible army to impose state authority on former fighters and Islamist militants who often use military muscle to make demands on the state.

 

[With Reuters]

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41
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