IS sui­cide bomber kills eight Libya troops near Beng­hazi

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

A sui­cide bomber has killed eight Libyan army troops near the eastern city of Beng­hazi, an at­tack that showed the Is­lamic State group is still able to strike out in the North African coun­try de­spite re­cent bat­tle­field losses, Libyan se­cu­rity and health of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day.

The Sun­day bomb­ing in the be­sieged Gan­fouda area was a coun­ter­at­tack on the ad­vanc­ing troops that also wounded an­other eight sol­diers, the of­fi­cials said, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to talk to the me­dia. IS claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the bomb­ing in a state­ment circulated on­line, re­leas­ing images of an ex­plo­sion hit­ting parked ve­hi­cles and build­ings it said was taken from a drone.

“The fight­ing in Gan­fouda is in its last stage, and ter­ror­ist group lead­ers are be­sieged in­side,” army spokesman Ahmed Al-Mos­mari said. Gan­fouda is one of the last two ex­trem­ist-held ar­eas in Libya’s east, be­sieged by Libyan army troops that an­swer to Field Mar­shal Khal­ifa Hifter. Ear­lier this month, the Is­lamic State group lost con­trol the city of Sirte, the mil­i­tants’ main strong­hold in Libya, es­sen­tially end­ing any near-term am­bi­tions to ex­pand their self-styled caliphate.

But that vic­tory has opened the door for mul­ti­ple armed fac­tions to po­ten­tially turn on each other in a scram­ble for con­trol of Libya’s vast oil wealth, the coun­try’s only source of real rev­enue. A UN-bro­kered peace deal was reached a year ago, try­ing to es­tab­lish a unity gov­ern­ment to end the chaos that has plagued Libya since the ouster and death of long­time strong­man Moam­mar Gad­hafi in a 2011 civil war. In­stead, Libya re­mains di­vided be­tween east and west, with no ef­fec­tive gov­ern­ment and ri­val fac­tions and mili­tias - each side with back­ing from dif­fer­ent for­eign coun­tries.

This month an es­ca­la­tion of vi­o­lence be­tween armed groups in the cap­i­tal, Tripoli, prompted the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to urge the par­ties to cease fight­ing, as fears grow that fresh con­flict could erupt around the oil fields. Libya is split into two gov­ern­ments, with a par­lia­ment in the east that has re­fused to ap­prove the UN-bro­kered gov­ern­ment in Tripoli. Hifter backs Libya’s last elected par­lia­ment, which is based in the east, against ri­val mili­tias loyal to the Tripoli gov­ern­ment. —AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.