Suicide bomber kills 4 near Libya’s Misurata

TRIPOLI // A suicide bomber killed four people outside Libya’s militia-controlled third city Misurata on Sunday in an attack claimed by the ISIL group.

One woman and her two children were among the victims of the suicide blast at the checkpoint in Es Dada, east of Misurata, the Lana news agency associated with the Tripoli government said.

The news agency also said 21 people were wounded when the bomber blew up a vehicle packed with explosives.

ISIL radio Al Bayan said a Sudanese volunteer it named as Abu Dujana had carried out the attack on behalf of its Tripolitania branch.

The militant group, notorious for its brutal rule of swathes of Iraq and Syria, has established branches in all three of Libya’s historic regions.

In February, the branch in Tripoli posted grisly video of the beheadings of 21 Christians, mostly Egyptians, prompting Cairo to launch retaliatory air strikes on the militant targets in the North African country.

In January, the group claimed an assault on a luxury hotel in the capital popular with diplomats and officials in which at least nine people — including five foreigners — were killed.

The country has had two governments and parliaments since the Libya Dawn militia seized Tripoli in August and the internationally recognised government fled to the country’s far east.

But militants are also increasing their reach in the chaos since Muammar Qaddafi’s fall in 2011.

Misurata is a power base for the Libya Dawn forces who took over the capital Tripoli in the summer and set up their own self-declared government and parliament in a challenge to prime minister Abdullah Al Thani’s recognised administration.

Misurata forces have also been fighting on a second front with militants tied to ISIL in the city of Sirte, where extremists and local militants have been expanding.

In a separate incident, warplanes from the recognised government carried out air strikes on Tripoli’s outskirts on Sunday, targeting Libya Dawn positions, an air force spokesman said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

Libya’s rival governments are backed by two loose coalitions of former rebel brigades who once fought together against Qaddafi but fell into internecine battles soon after the Nato-backed uprising ended his one-man regime.

* Agence France-Presse and Reuters


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