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Twin car bombs kill at least 22 in Libya’s Benghazi

The death toll following a double car bomb attack in the Libyan city of Benghazi on Tuesday night has risen to at least 22, a hospital spokeswoman said.

A further 20 people were injured and the number of fatalities could rise, Fadia al-Barghathi, spokeswoman for the city’s al-Jala hospital, told AFP.

An explosives-rigged vehicle blew up in front of a mosque in the central neighbourhood of Al-Sleimani, a security source said.

A second car exploded 30 minutes later in the same area, causing more casualties among security services and civilians.

The mosque is known to be a base for Salafist groups which fought jihadists in the eastern port city alongside forces loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Ahmad al-Fitouri, a security services official for Haftar’s forces, was among those killed in the bombing, military spokesman Miloud al-Zwei said.

Libya has been rocked by chaos since a 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with two rival authorities and multiple militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.

Haftar in July announced the “total liberation” of Benghazi, three years after his forces launched a military operation to seize the city from jihadists who had made it a stronghold following the revolution.

But clashes and attacks in the city have continued, including against diplomatic facilities and security forces.

Haftar supports a parliament based in the far east of Libya, while a rival United Nations-backed unity government in the western capital Tripoli has struggled to assert its authority nationwide.

 

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