Deaths as car bomb hits Libya’s Benghazi

At least 22 dead and 20 others wounded in powerful car bomb attack as alliance of armed groups claims responsibility.

Members of the Libyan army give protection to a demonstration in support of the Libyan army under the leadership of General Khalifa Haftar, in Benghazi
Haftar's forces are allied to a government in eastern Libya that opposes the UN-backed administration in Tripoli [Reuters]

At least 22 people have been killed and 20 wounded in a car bomb attack in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, according to medical officials.

Tuesday’s attack targeted forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), spokesman Fadel al-Hassi said.

A witness told the Reuters news agency the powerful explosion reduced a three-story building to rubble.

The blast occurred in a residential area in the Guwarsha district in western Benghazi.

Revolutionary Shura Council of Benghazi, a coalition of armed groups, claimed responsibility for the blast, according to a statement posted on media sites linked to the group.

Benghazi has been plagued by violence since Haftar launched a campaign against the Shura Council two years ago.

His forces have advanced in several areas in recent months, but have not gained full control of the city.

READ MORE: Leaked tapes suggest West supports Haftar

There have been occasional car bombings, though the toll from Tuesday’s blast was unusually high.

Haftar’s forces are allied to a government that has been based in eastern Libya since 2014, when armed groups set up a rival administration in the capital, Tripoli.

A UN-backed government moved into Tripoli earlier this year, but Haftar and the eastern government have so far rejected it.

Source: News Agencies