NORTH AFRICA

Twin car bombs kill at least 35 in Libya’s Benghazi

People gather at the site of twin car bombs in Benghazi, Libya, January 23, 2018. Picture taken January 23, 2018. (Reuters)

The death toll following a double car bomb attack in the Libyan city of Benghazi on Tuesday night has risen to at least 35, a hospital spokeswoman said.

A further 60 people were injured and the number of fatalities could rise, Fadia al-Barghathi, spokeswoman for the city’s al-Jala hospital, told AFP.

An explosives-rigged vehicle blew up in front of a mosque in the central neighborhood of Al-Sleimani, a security source said.

READ ALSO: Car bomb in central Benghazi wounds former interior minister

A second car exploded 30 minutes later in the same area, causing more casualties among security services and civilians.

The mosque is known to be a base for Salafist groups which fought jihadists in the eastern port city alongside forces loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Ahmad al-Fitouri, a security services official for Haftar’s forces, was among those killed in the bombing, military spokesman Miloud al-Zwei said.

Libya has been rocked by chaos since a 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with two rival authorities and multiple militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.

Haftar in July announced the”"total liberation” of Benghazi, three years after his forces launched a military operation to seize the city from jihadists who had made it a stronghold following the revolution.

But clashes and attacks in the city have continued, including against diplomatic facilities and security forces.

Haftar supports a parliament based in the far east of Libya, while a rival United Nations-backed unity government in the western capital Tripoli has struggled to assert its authority nationwide.

(with Reuters)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 24 January 2018 KSA 15:18 - GMT 12:18
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