A man looks at the scene near a military base in Barsis, some 50km outside Benghazi, after a suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives at an army checkpoint, yesterday.
BENGHAZI, Libya: A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a security checkpoint outside eastern Libya’s restive city of Benghazi overnight, killing at least 13 people, the government said yesterday.
The country’s weak post-revolutionary authorities, who have struggled to stem unrest since the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi, called for three days of national mourning and denounced the “terrorist attack.”
“This treacherous act comes as the Libyan army, and particularly the Saiqa special forces unit, is trying to establish security... namely in Benghazi,” cradle of the uprising, the government said in statement. The bombing also wounded three people, leaving two of them in serious condition, and three other people are listing as missing, the statement said, updating an earlier toll.
The suicide bombing left body parts strewn around the area, said police officer Moetez al-Agouri, who was working at the checkpoint but escaped injury.
He said at least seven bodies were immediately identified while others were torn to pieces by the explosion.
A health ministry official said that three bodies were taken to Al Morj hospital morgue, while the remains of four other people as well as body parts were sent to the Benghazi medical centre.
The checkpoint is located 50 kilometres east of Benghazi, Libya’s second city, which has seen a series of deadly attacks in recent months — mainly targeting security forces and foreign missions — that have killed more than 300 people.
Security post chief Fraj al-Abdelli, who was wounded in the attack, said his unit had received several threats following the arrest in November of four people who were carrying weapons, explosives, money and a hit-list.
The police convoy transporting the suspects to a Benghazi barracks after their arrest came under attack as it entered the city, he said, with four soldiers killed in that attack and three others wounded.