Islamic State claims bombing in Libya that killed 2

The country is currently split between governments in the east and west.

23 May 2018 | 18:44

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 23 May 2018 | 18:44

People check the aftermath of an explosion in the eastern city of Benghazi, Libya, January 24, 2018. (AFP Photo)

CAIRO: The Islamic State group on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a car bombing at a checkpoint in eastern Libya that killed at least two security personnel.

Libyan officials said Tuesday's attack, which left two others wounded, took place at the southern entrance of Ajdabiya, west of Benghazi. The town is controlled by the self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, which forced Islamic militants out in 2016.

The officials said militants attacked another checkpoint in the northeastern town of Awjila, kidnapping a police officer. IS also claimed that attack.

The country is currently split between governments in the east and west. Hifter's LNA is allied with the east-based administration at odds with the United Nations-backed government based in the capital, Tripoli. Alongside the rival administrations, mostly Islamic militias wield considerable influence and control large swathes of territory in the vast North African nation.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya on Wednesday condemned Tuesday's attacks.

"The upsurge of ISIS-claimed attacks is a serious threat that should not go unnoticed by the Libyan and the international community," the mission said in a statement. ISIS is a common acronym for the Islamic State group.

Separately, Brigadier Gen. Abdul-Hamid al-Werfali, an LNA commander, was killed in clashes with militants in the eastern city of Derna, military spokesman Brigadier Gen. Ahmed al-Mosmari said late Tuesday.

The LNA has surrounded the city of 150,000 people for years and clashes have been ongoing since early April. Hifter announced earlier this month that his forces have launched a military operation aimed at "liberating" Derna from extremist groups who have controlled the coastal city for years.

"After four years of struggle against terrorists, we are close to the liberation of Derna," he said in televised comments on Wednesday.

Libya descended into chaos after the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

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