Suicide car bomb targets Libya parliament

AP News
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Posted: Dec 30, 2014 9:22 AM

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — A suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into the outer gate of the headquarters of the internationally recognized parliament, a Libyan lawmaker and a security official said.

Parliamentarian Abu Bakr Baeira said no one was killed in the attack in the eastern city of Tobruk, where the assembly has been forced to convene since Islamist-allied militias seized the capital Tripoli over the summer and revived a rival government. A security official said 18 people were lightly injured including a lawmaker and three children. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

No one claimed responsibility for the bombing. Officials have blamed previous attacks on Islamic extremists based in the eastern town of Darna, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Widespread militia violence has plunged Libya into chaos less than four years after a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The Tripoli-based government has launched an offensive against militias controlling the country's main oil terminals in central Libya. The days-long clashes set ablaze several oil storage tanks a few kilometers from the strategically vital oil terminal in Sidra. At least 850,000 barrels of oil were lost because of the fire in five storage tanks.

Meanwhile, the internationally recognized government launched airstrikes against the western city of Misrata this week for the first time, expanding the geography of the conflict. The government troops have been engaged in fierce clashes in the city of Benghazi, the country's second largest city and birthplace of the anti-Gadhafi uprising, while sporadic fighting continued in the far western mountain region.

The conflict in Libya has left hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands internally displaced. Most diplomatic missions have shut down their embassies and many foreign workers have fled the country.