Suicide car bomb targets Libya parliament

Pro-government Libyan forces aim their weapons during clashes in the streets with the Shura Council of Libyan Revolutionaries, who have joined forces with the Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia, in Benghazi Dec. 28, 2014. (Reuters)

A suicide bomber detonated his car outside the headquarters of the internationally recognized Libyan parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk on Tuesday, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

The explosion took place at the entrance of al-Salam Hotel that hosts the parliament as lawmakers sat in a nearby hall, parliamentary spokesman Farraj Hashem told Reuters by phone.

Abu Bakr Baeira, another parliamentarian told the Associated Press that no one was killed.

The parliament has been holding its meetings in Tubruk since since Islamist-allied militias seized the capital Tripoli over the summer and revived a rival government.

Tuesday's bombing is the biggest attack on the parliament in Tobruk to date. A car bomb exploded in the city in November, but did not target the assembly.

Tobruk, near the Egyptian border, has enjoyed much better security than the rest of the oil-producing country, which has been in turmoil since Muammar Qaddafi was ousted nearly four years ago.

Egypt's interior ministry issued a statement condemning the "terrorist blast that targetted the elected parliament."

No one claimed responsibility for the bombing. Officials have blamed previous attacks on Islamic extremists based in the eastern town of Darna, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Widespread militia violence has plunged Libya into chaos less than four years after a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Qaddafi.

The Tripoli-based government has launched an offensive against militias controlling the country's main oil terminals in central Libya. The days-long clashes set ablaze several oil storage tanks a few kilometers from the strategically vital oil terminal in Sidra. At least 850,000 barrels of oil were lost because of the fire in five storage tanks.

Meanwhile, the internationally recognized government launched airstrikes against the western city of Misrata this week for the first time, expanding the geography of the conflict. The government troops have been engaged in fierce clashes in the city of Benghazi, the country's second largest city and birthplace of the anti-Qaddafi uprising, while sporadic fighting continued in the far western mountain region.

The conflict in Libya has left hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands internally displaced. Most diplomatic missions have shut down their embassies and many foreign workers have fled the country.

[With Reuters and AP]

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
Top