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Haftar Calls for Action after Deadly Benghazi Bombings

Haftar Calls for Action after Deadly Benghazi Bombings

Thursday, 25 January, 2018 - 12:45
People walk near a puddle of water mixed with blood at the site of twin car bombs in Benghazi, Libya, January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

The security situation overshadowed Libya’s political scene on Wednesday after the death toll from the "twin terrorist bombing" in the eastern city of Benghazi rose to 37, prompting the Libyan National Army (LNA) chief to instruct security forces into bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Meanwhile, the convoy of the Minister of Education in the Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, was attacked on Wednesday in Bani Walid city.

There has been a discrepancy in official reports on the exact number of injuries when two car bombs exploded outside a mosque in the central neighbourhood of Al-Sleimani, in the first such attack in Benghazi this year.

The city has been relatively calm since LNA commander Marshal Khalifa Haftar announced Benghazi’s liberation last year and the end of military operations against "terrorists".

When emergency and security workers rushed to the scene of the bomb attack near the mosque, another car exploded, killing and injuring more civilians.

A military official said Ahmed Fetouri, commander of Special Investigation Department of the National Army was killed in the attack, while security sources said Brigadier General Mahdi al-Falah, a leader of the Libyan intelligence services, was injured in the first explosion.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but spokesman for National Army Brig.-Gen. Ahmad al-Mismari accused al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorist groups, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a statement to the Egyptian daily al-Watan, Mismari said that "the responsible party is known," adding that he will announce more details at a press conference following a meeting of the army leadership.

In light of several local and international condemnations, Haftar instructed the security authorities to arrest those involved in the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice, calling on citizens to exercise caution and cooperate with the services to report any suspicious movements.

Commander of the National Security Forces Major General Wanis Bukhamada asked citizens to remain at home in case of any security breaches or dormant cells executing any attacks.

Head of the interim government loyal to the authorities in eastern Libya Abdullah al-Hinni pledged to arrest the terrorists and bring the perpetrators to justice. He also declared three days of national mourning for the victims.

For its part, the Government of National Accord (GNA) announced it will use all its means to arrest the attackers. In a statement, the government asked all Libyans to stand united in face of the evil forces.

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) denounced the bombings in a short statement and described the attack as "horrific" and warned that "direct or indiscriminate attacks against civilians... constitute war crimes".

Meanwhile, the convoy of Libyan Education Minister Osman Abdul-Jalil was attacked on Wednesday in Bani Walid city, 180 km southeast of Tripoli.

"No one was injured and things are under control," the ministry said in a statement, adding that the minister and his accompanying team decided "to remain on the outskirts of the city and wait until things calm down to complete the visit."

Abdul-Jalil said that what happened "does not represent the city of Bani Walid, but it is an act carried out by a group of young people and we understand their motives well. It is very important that no harm is done to any party."

He did not reveal the motives behind the attack.

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