Wednesday 17 January 2018

Truck bomb kills 65 at Libyan police academy

The attack in Zliten is one of the worst since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 Credit: @AGomati
The attack in Zliten is one of the worst since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 Credit: @AGomati

Ayman El Sahli

At least 65 people were killed in Libya after a truck bomb exploded at a police training centre in the town of Zliten, local officials and hospital sources said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but the bombing is one of the deadliest since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Mayor Miftah Hamadi said the bomb detonated as recruits were gathering at the police centre in Zliten, a coastal town between the capital Tripoli and the port of Misrata.

Witnesses said residents were ferrying victims to Misrata hospitals in ambulances and cars, many with shrapnel wounds.

Medical sources said 65 people had been killed, including some civilians, though one official said between 50 and 60 had died.

Since the NATO-backed revolt ousted Gaddafi, Libya has slipped deeper into turmoil with two rival governments and a range of armed factions locked in a struggle for control of the North African state and its oil wealth.

In the chaos, Islamic State militants have grown in strength, taking over the city of Sirte and launching attacks on oilfields.

ISIS fighters this week attacked two major oil export terminals.

In February last year, three car bombs hit the eastern Libyan city of Qubbah, killing 40 people in what officials described as a revenge attack for Egyptian air strikes on Islamist militant targets.

Western powers are pushing Libya's factions to back a UN-brokered national unity government to join forces against Islamic State but the agreement faces major resistance from several factions on the ground.


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