Four dead following car bomb near hospital in Benghazi, Libya

Published June 25th, 2016 - 12:03 GMT
A woman walks near a damaged car after shelling hit a protest rally in Benghazi on May 6, 2016. (AFP/File)
A woman walks near a damaged car after shelling hit a protest rally in Benghazi on May 6, 2016. (AFP/File)

The explosives-laden car went off Friday night in front of the entrance of Benghazi's al-Jalaa hospital, one of the two largest in the war-torn city and where government-linked troops receive treatment for injuries.

"A car bomb exploded in front of the entrance of the hospital, killing four civilians and wounding 14 others," said the hospital's media department director, Fadia Berghathi.

Military sources in the eastern city said the blast "was caused by a sticky bomb planted under a car parked in front of the hospital."

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing.

Benghazi has witnessed fierce battles in the past two years between pro-government troops led by General Khalifa Haftar and armed militias, including Takfiri groups such as Daesh and the al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia.

The hospital targeted in the Friday attack treats Haftar's forces and is reportedly often visited by his commanders.

The development came as pro-government forces thwarted a counterattack by Daesh militants who attempted to recapture their former stronghold in the coastal city of Sirte, 450 kilometers east of the capital, Tripoli.

The pro-government troops and allied militia forces launched an offensive on May 20 to liberate Sirte from the Daesh group.

Libya has been struggling to contain the Takfiri terrorists, who have been expanding their presence in the country since the overthrow and death of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Taking advantage of the political chaos in the country, Daesh took control of Sirte in June 2015, nearly four months after it declared presence in the city, making it the first city to be ruled by the group outside of Iraq and Syria.

Libya has had two rival governments since 2014, when politician Khalifa Ghweil and his self-proclaimed government seized control of the capital, Tripoli, with the support of militia groups, forcing the internationally-recognized government to move to the country's remote eastern city of Tobruk.

However, they achieved a consensus on forming a unity government, the GNA, last December after months of UN-brokered talks in Tunisia and Morocco, in a bid to restore order in the oil-rich nation.

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