Daily Israel Report
Show More

OpEds


Libya: Two Dead in Blast Near Islamist Camp

At least two people were killed as a large blast was heard near a Libyan Islamist stronghold in Sirte.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/15/2013, 4:43 AM

Explosion (illustrative)
Explosion (illustrative)
Flash 90

At least two people were killed on Monday night as a large blast was heard near a Libyan Islamist stronghold east of the capital Tripoli, reports Reuters.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear and there were conflicting accounts of what happened in the explosion near Sirte, east of the capital.

One military source said a rocket had hit an Islamist camp near Sirte, killing seven people. The country’s deputy defense minister, Khaled al-Sharif, wrote on his Facebook page the blast was caused by an ammunition accident, killing two people.

Residents in the area reported there was a loud explosion, but officials were not immediately available to comment further.

Sirte, the birthplace of former Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi, is a stronghold of Islamist militants who oppose the central government in Tripoli.

Libya has been unstable since Qaddafi was overthrown two years ago. There have been several attacks in the country, the most well-known of which is the terror attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi.

Terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate on September 11, 2012, killing the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

Exactly a year later, a car bomb was detonated in Benghazi, damaging the exterior of Libya's Foreign Ministry building and the Central Bank of Libya.

Last Friday, a car bomb exploded outside the Swedish consulate in Benghazi, causing serious damage to the embassy and damaging adjacent buildings. No casualties were reported from the explosion.

A week earlier, unknown gunmen attacked the Russian embassy in Tripoli. No one was hurt, but the embassy staff were later evacuated.

In one of the more serious incidents in Libya, the country’s prime minister, Ali Zeidan, was kidnapped from the Tripoli hotel in which he resides.

Zeidan was kidnapped by an armed gang associated with Islamist groups that have attacked American embassies in Africa, but was released several hours later.

The leader of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood political party said Saturday that Zeidan has failed and needs to be replaced. The Muslim Brotherhood was long banned in Libya under Qaddafi, but resumed its activities after he was ousted.