Car Bombs Kill 40, Wound 70 in Libya

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Friday, February 20, 2015

Updated at 6:27 pm (GMT+2):Three car bombs ripped through the eastern Libyan city of al-Qubbah on Friday, killing 40 people and wounding 70, security officials and medics said.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group claimed responsibility for the car bombings.

A brief statement by an ISIS branch in Libya said two suicide bombers targeted the forces of General Khalifa Haftar "in revenge for the blood of our Muslim people in the city of Derna," an apparent reference to Egyptian airstrikes on the eastern jihadist stronghold this week.

Three bombs exploded in Qubbah at a petrol station, the local security headquarters and the town council headquarters. Qubbah is the populated place between the eastern cities of Derna and Bayda.

A security official said the car bombs were probably suicide attacks, but no more details were immediately available.

“We are announcing seven days of mourning for the victims of Qubbah," the parliamentary speaker for Libya’s internationally-recognized government, Aguila Saleh, told Al Arabiya television. "I think this operation was revenge for what happened in Derna."

On Monday, Egypt launched airstrikes on suspected Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets near Derna, a day after the group released a video showing the execution of Egyptian workers.

The internationally-recognized prime minister, Abdullah al-Thani, is based in Bayda, some 40 kilometers from Qubbah. Saleh works out of Tobruk, another eastern town home to the House of Representatives, the internationally-recognized parliament.

Almost four years after a NATO-backed war ended Muammar Gaddafi's one-man rule, Libya has descended into chaos with the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani forced to flee to the country's east and militias in control of Tripoli and other main cities since August.

The country's main militias, including the Islamist-backed Fajr Libya (Libyan Dawn) coalition that has declared a rival government in Tripoli and has been involved in the peace talks, have not linked up with ISIS jihadists.

Amid the chaos, a number of Islamist militant groups have been active in Libya. A few have declared ties to ISIS and claimed high-profile attacks over recent weeks in what appears to be an intensifying campaign.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

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