Six killed, 15 hurt in Libya suicide bomb attack

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 December, 2013, 5:04am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 December, 2013, 5:32am

A suicide bomb attack at an army base outside Benghazi, in eastern Libya, killed at least six people and wounded up to 15 yesterday, medical and security sources said.

The attacker blew himself up in a car in front of the base in Barsis, some 50 kilometres outside Benghazi, a security source said.

The dead were soldiers, medical sources said. The security source said the attacker was among those killed.

The security situation has deteriorated in Libya's second-largest city in the past few months, with car bombings and assassinations of army and police officers happening regularly.

Most countries closed their consulates in Benghazi after a series of attacks. Some foreign airlines have stopped flying to the city. The US ambassador and three other Americans were killed in September 2012 during an Islamist assault on the consulate.

Separately, tribesmen in Jalo, in the southeast of the nation, brought the bodies of five soldiers to a local hospital, state news agency Lana said. The soldiers had been killed in clashes two days ago, the agency said without giving details.

Western diplomats worry the violence in Benghazi will spill over to the capital Tripoli, which last month saw the worst fighting in months between militias.

Much of Libya's oil wealth is located in the east of the country, where many demand autonomy from the Tripoli government, adding to turmoil in the nation.

The government of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan is struggling to control militias and tribesmen who helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in an uprising in 2011.

In a separate incident, knife-wielding protesters stormed the headquarters of Libya's largest telecommunications company and forced an eight-hour shutdown of internet access in the south and west of the country.

Dozens of protesters calling for Zeidan to resign occupied Libyan Telecom and Technology's headquarters in Tripoli on Saturday.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse