Bombings near Egyptian, UAE embassies in Libya’s Tripoli

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Thursday, November 13, 2014

Updated at 6:50 pm (GMT +2): Twin car bombs exploded on Thursday near the Egyptian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) embassies in the militia-controlled Libyan capital Tripoli.

The first bomb went off in a parking lot close to the Egyptian embassy building, shattering several of its windows, an AFP correspondent reported. Two guards posted outside were wounded, Libya's LANA news agency reported.

The second went off minutes later just outside the UAE mission compound, wounding three non-Emirati guards, a senior official from Abu Dhabi said.

He said the blast showed the need for greater support for Libya's internationally-recognized government, which took refuge in the remote east of the country after the militia’s takeover of the capital.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Ati said the bombings "raise doubts about the usefulness of calls for political dialogue with terrorist groups," adding that the attacks "harm the historical relations between Egypt and Libya."

The Egyptian and UAE governments are considered hostile by the Islamist militias, which UAE warplanes recently carried out strikes against from neighboring Egypt.

Washington confirmed that Abu Dhabi launched these airstrikes in an abortive attempt to prevent the capture of the Tripoli airport by the Islamists.

Egypt, however, has denied participating in the raids.

Egypt closed its embassy in Tripoli in January and the UAE followed suit in May as security conditions in the capital deteriorated.

The blasts come after a series of car bombs on Wednesday mainly in towns under the control of the internationally-recognized government, based in the eastern city of Tobruk, which is facing a challenge from a rival government set up in Tripoli.

The bombs killed six people, including five soldiers, and injured more than 20 people, updating an earlier toll.

In August, Islamist militants seized the capital Tripoli forcing the internationally-recognized government and parliament to move to the east.

Libya is currently run by rival government and parliaments. Two assemblies currently vie for legislative authority: a newly-elected House of Representatives, which convenes in Tobruk; and the General National Congress, which – even though its mandate ended in August – continues to convene in Tripoli.

The two parliaments support the two rival governments, which are respectively headquartered in the two cities.

The UN and major powers recognize the House of Representatives and Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani's government. But Libya's Supreme Court, still based in Tripoli, declared last week the House of Representatives unconstitutional.

Nevertheless, the House of Representatives said Wednesday that it was committed to a UN initiative aimed at solving Libya's current crisis through dialogue and a cessation of violence.

"The UN's initiative, which aims to stop the shedding of Libyan blood, is the only dialogue initiative currently recognized by parliament," the assembly said.

"A political solution is the only way out of the crisis," the parliament, which convenes in Libya's northeastern city of Tobruk, added in a statement.

It said the UN initiative should call for maintaining Libya's democratic institutions, which, it stressed, were elected by the people.

The UN special representative for Libya, Bernardino Leon, is trying through contacts with the rival parties to initiate "an inclusive dialogue aimed at reaching political agreement."

Libya is grappling with a sharply deteriorating security as the country is effectively controlled by former rebels who, alongside other NATO-backed groups, helped in the toppling of dictator Muammar Gaddafi but are now using their guns to fight for power.

(Reuters, AFP, Anadoli, Al-Akhbar)

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