Bomb wounds 12 kids in Benghazi

February 06, 2014 - 6:53:28 am

A victim of an attack on a school, lies down on a bed during medical treatment at a hospital in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, yesterday.

BENGHAZI: A bomb blast rocked the playground of a primary school in Libya’s restive second city Benghazi during recess yesterday, wounding 12 children, two of them seriously, officials said.

Witnesses said a bomb was thrown over the school wall as the children were playing.

Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 Nato-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, has seen near-daily attacks on security and other targets in recent months as the weak central government has tried to rein in former rebel brigades turned militias.

Fadia Al Barghathi, spokeswoman for Benghazi’s Al Jala hospital, had earlier yesterday said six children suffering “light to moderate” injuries were admitted there. 

Another medic later revealed that six other children, two in serious condition, were taken to Benghazi medical centre.

A security official described the force of the explosion as “weak” and said a hunt was under way for those behind the attack.

“Witnesses saw an individual throw an explosive device over the school wall during recess,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Yesterday’s school blast came after a patrol of Libya’s Al Saiqa special forces unit was attacked by unknown gunmen during the night in the centre of Benghazi, causing no injuries. A security official said the armed group had then set upon a sit-in being staged by a group of anti-government protesters, torching their tents and cars.

The gunmen later in the night attacked an Al Saiqa checkpoint at Al Jala hospital, sparking a firefight which, however, left no injuries.

Clashes between militia made up of former rebels and the special forces erupted in the city after the son of Al Saiqa’s commander in Benghazi was kidnapped late January.

In Tripoli, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has faced criticism from Islamist MPs demanding his resignation, accusing him of failing to improve security.

Zeidan was himself kidnapped by gunmen and held for several hours in October.

Deputy industry minister Hassan al-Droui was assassinated in Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte on January 12, while the convoy of interior minister Seddik Abdelkarim came under fire last week on the road to the airport.AFP