[QODLink]
Africa

Playground bomb wounds children in Libya

Device thrown over school wall wounds 12 children, two seriously, in volatile city of Benghazi as insecurity continues.

Last updated: 05 Feb 2014 17:43
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
An official said six children, two of whom were in a serious condition, had been hospitalised [Reuters]

A bomb has rocked the playground of a primary school in Benghazi during break time, wounding 12 children, hours after gunmen had rampaged through the streets of Libya's restive second city.

Witnesses said the bomb was thrown over the school wall while the children were playing. 

Fadia al-Barghathi, spokesperson for Benghazi's main Galaa hospital, told the AP news agency that it was a student that had thrown the device.

Six children suffering "light to moderate" injuries were admitted to the city's Al-Jala hospital, Barghathi said.

Medics said two of the injured children were in serious condition. 

Weapons are widespread in Libya in the wake of its 2011 civil war.

Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, has seen near-daily attacks on security and other targets in recent months as the weak central government has tried to rein in former rebel brigades turned armed groups.

Another medical official said six other children, two in serious condition, were taken to Benghazi medical centre.

A security official described the force of the explosion as "weak" and said a hunt was underway for whoever was behind the attack, for which no one immediately claimed responsibility.

"Witnesses saw an individual throw an explosive device over the school wall during recess," the official told the AFP news agency, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Special forces attacked

The attack came hours after a patrol of Libya's Al-Saiqa special forces unit was attacked by unknown gunmen during the night in the centre of Benghazi, causing no injuries.

A security official said the assailants had then attacked a sit-in being staged by a group of anti-government protesters, torching their tents and cars.

The gunmen later attacked a checkpoint at Al-Jala hospital, sparking a firefight that left no injuries.

Three members of the special forces were killed in Benghazi last week in clashes with armed groups made up of former rebels.

Armed groups have also attacked foreign missions in Benghazi, including a September 2012 assault on the US consulate that killed the ambassador and three other Americans.

Eastern Libya has become a stronghold of militias, with authorities avoiding a full-blown confrontation with the heavily-armed groups pending the formation of a regular army and police force

368

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
Remnants of deadly demonstrations to be displayed in a new museum, a year after protests pushed president out of power.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.