The United Nations mission in Libya on Friday strongly condemned the “ruthless” car bomb blast in the eastern city of Benghazi that killed at least seven people including a toddler, warning that such attacks are possible war crimes.
“This week has seen a series of ruthless attacks in Libya,” the UNSMIL mission said in a statement.
“UNSMIL maintains that there is no justification whatsoever for such attacks, which may amount to war crimes, and that those who have organised and enabled this attack must be brought to justice and held to account.”
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted a populous residential area.
The car bomb exploded late Thursday behind the city’s largest hotel, Tibetsi, on a busy market street selling mostly Syrian produce, and besides those killed, 20 other people were injured, Al-Jazeera reported.
“The Mission stands in solidarity with the people of Libya in resisting attempts to spread fear, intimidation and hatred,” UNSMIL said, adding that it was committed to peace in the war-wracked country through a “Libyan-led” and “inclusive” political process.
A twin car bombing killed at least 35 people in Benghazi in January and left more than 50 others wounded. Ahmad al-Fituri, a security official for military strongman Khalifa Haftar’s forces, was among those killed.
Forces loyal to Haftar took control of Benghazi in 2017, after a three-year campaign against rival armed groups. The fighting has left large areas of the port city in ruins.
The Tripoli-based Presidential Council and the eastern-based Tobruk parliament on Friday deplored the “cowardly” car bombing in the port city of Benghazi in which at least seven people died and 20 were injured.
The Presidential Council – which has the function of head of state in Libya – said such crimes “will increase the Libyan people’s determination to fight terrorism throughout the country”.
Benghazi city council also condemned the blast, which took place in a busy market street in a populous area of the city.
Authorities in eastern Libya said it was a “terrorist car bomb explosion carried out by sleeper cells,” the Libyan Observer reported on its website. But the paper cited locals as saying the blast was caused by a quarrel between rival militants in which a hand-grenade was thrown in to a notorious militiaman’s ammunition-packed car, killing him and his brother.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.