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News, February 2015
47 Libyans Killed, Scores Injured, in Islamic State Suicide Attacks in Qubbah, in Retaliation for Egyptian Air Strikes on Derna
February 20, 2015
Islamic State Claim Qubbah Suicide Attacks in Libya
Tripoli Post, 21/02/2015 01:39:00
Islamic State Claim Qubbah Suicide Attacks in Libya
The Islamic State Friday claimed responsibility for the suicidal
attacks on government and private facilities in the Qubbah city in
eastern Libya that killed at least 47 people and wounded scores more.
Triple suicide blasts kill 47 in Libya's Qubbah
BENGHAZI, Libya --
The death toll has risen to 47, including three Egyptians and two Sudanese nationals
At least 47 people were killed – including three Egyptians – in three suicide bombings that rocked Libya's eastern city of Al-Qubbah on Friday, a Libyan military spokesman has said.
"The death toll has risen to 47, including three Egyptians and two Sudanese nationals," Ahmed al-Mesmari, a spokesman for the army's chief-of-staff, told The Anadolu Agency.
Earlier Friday, three suicide bombers in Al-Qubbah struck a local police headquarters, a petrol station and the home of Aguila Saleh, speaker of Libya's internationally-recognized House of Representatives.
Two of the bombings were later claimed by a group affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militant group, which said the attacks were "revenge" for the Tobruk-based government's "conspiracy against the Muslims of Darnah."
According to al-Mesmari, Libyan warplanes struck suspected ISIL targets in the eastern city of Darnah following Friday's bombings.
Eyewitnesses said Libyan fighter jets had struck the headquarters of the self-styled Shura Council of Mujahedeen of Darnah in Ras al-Helal, located roughly 30km from Darnah.
The Shura Council had earlier denied any connection to Friday's bombings.
The bombings came four days after Egypt launched a series of airstrikes – carried out in coordination with Libya's internationally recognized Tobruk government – against suspected ISIL targets in Darnah.
The airstrikes ostensibly came in response to a video – which appeared on Sunday – purportedly showing the execution of 21 Christian Egyptian hostages by ISIL militants in Libya.
In recent months, fractious Libya's sharp political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government – each of which has its own institutions – in Tripoli and Tobruk respectively.
Bahrain, UAE, UN condemn eastern Libya bombings
Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the UN mission in Libya have condemned a series of bombings in Libya's eastern Al-Qubbah city that left 47 dead and dozens injured on Friday.
"The bombings – which targeted several locations in Al-Qubbah, the hometown of House of Representatives speaker Aqila Saleh Kuweider – were cowardly acts that we totally reject," the UN mission said in a statement.
The mission offered it condolences to victims' families, asserting: "The best response to counter terrorism and violence is for the Libyans to forge ahead with the search for a political solution."
The UAE, for its part, likewise condemned the attack, with President Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan ordering that injured victims be taken abroad for treatment, the UAE's official news agency reported.
Bahrain, too, denounced Friday's bombings in Libya, offering its condolences to victims' families and wishing the injured a speedy recovery, according to Bahrain's state-run news agency.
Earlier Friday, a group affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militant group claimed responsibility for a number of suicide bombings that targeted an operations room belonging to Libyan army commander Khalifa Haftar in the eastern city of Al-Qubbah.
Islamic State militants claim suicide attacks in Libya that kill 42
By Ayman al-Warfalli
Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:52pm EST
Militants claiming loyalty to Islamic State killed 42 people in suicide car bombings in eastern Libya on Friday, in apparent retaliation for Egyptian air strikes.
The three car bombs exploded in Qubbah, a small town near the seat of the official government in what appeared to be another high profile attack by the group after the storming of a Tripoli hotel and the killing of 21 captive Egyptian Copts.
On Monday, Egyptian air force jets bombed Islamic State targets in Derna in far eastern Libya, after the ultra-radical group released a video showing the Coptic Christian migrant workers being decapitated on a beach.
"They killed and wounded tens in revenge for the bloodshed of Muslims in the city of Derna," said a statement issued by the "Islamic State, Cyrenaica province". It could not be verified by Reuters but this group has issued statements before which were not subsequently contested by others.
The bombs exploded shortly before Friday prayers at a petrol station, the local security headquarters and the town council in Qubbah, home town of Parliamentary Speaker Aguila Saleh, security officials said. His house is close to the town council, but he was out of town at the time.
Forty-two people were killed, among them five Egyptian workers, and 70 people were wounded, security officials and medics said.
Four years after rebels overthrew Muammar Gaddafi, the oil-producing North African state is in chaos, with two governments and parliaments allied to armed factions fighting for control, while Islamist groups exploit the power vacuum.
Previous suicide and car bomb attacks, mainly in the east of Libya, have tended to target police and army bases rather than civilians, with security officials blaming Islamist groups such as Ansar al-Sharia which are believed to have links with militants claiming allegiance to Islamic State.
"We are announcing seven days of mourning for the victims of Qubbah," Saleh told Al Arabiya television. "I think this operation was revenge for what happened in Derna."
Hours after the attacks, troops loyal to the official government used military helicopters to attack militant targets in Derna, a military source said.
War planes also attacked forces loyal to the rival government in Ben Jawad, said Ali al-Hassi, a military spokesman. The area is a launchpad for rival forces which have been trying to take the Es Sider oil port.
The internationally recognised prime minister, Abdullah al-Thinni, is based in Bayda, some 40 km (25 miles) from Qubbah. Saleh works out of Tobruk, another eastern town now home to the House of Representatives, the elected parliament.
The capital Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast in the far west is under the control of the rival government and parliament, set up after a faction called Libya Dawn seized the city in summer, forcing Thinni to flee to the east.
Last month, militants claiming affiliation with Islamic State stormed the Corinthia luxury hotel in Tripoli, killing five foreigners and at least four Libyans.
Supporters of the group, which has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria, have also taken over government and university buildings in Sirte, a central city and birthplace of Gaddafi, according to residents.
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