Daesh suicide bomber kills Libyan troops near Benghazi
by Compiled from Wire Services
ISTANBULDec 20, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Compiled from Wire Services
Dec 20, 2016 12:00 am
A suicide bomber has killed eight Libyan army troops near the eastern city of Benghazi, an attack that showed Daesh is still able to strike out in the North African country despite recent battlefield losses, Libyan security and health officials said yesterday. The move came after the Libyan unity government announced the end of military operations in Sirte eight months after the start of the operations against the militant group.
The Sunday bombing in the besieged Ganfouda area was a counterattack on the advancing troops that also wounded another eight soldiers, officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Daesh claimed responsibility for the bombing in a statement that circulated online, releasing images of an explosion hitting parked vehicles and buildings it said were taken from a drone.
"The fighting in Ganfouda is in its last stage, and terrorist group leaders are besieged inside," army spokesman Ahmed al-Mosmari said. Ganfouda is one of the last two extremist-held areas in Libya's east, besieged by Libyan army troops that answer to Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter.
The long battle for the coastal town of Sirte has prompted fears of a counter-attack or insurgent campaign that could enable the militants to show they are still in business despite the rout, a heavy blow for a group that is also under intense military pressure in its core territory of Iraq and Syria.
The oil-rich North African country descended into chaos after the Western intervention and parts of it have become a bastion for Daesh, giving the militants a new base even as its territory in Syria and Iraq shrinks under constant assault.
Libya has suffered from a chronic absence of security as various actors have emerged. There are two centers of power in the crisis- hit country; the internationally recognized government in Tobruk, the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC). The GNA is the centerpiece of U.N. efforts to end the five years of chaos in Libya and it now faces an even tougher battle to assert its authority over the rival administration in the east.
The powerlessness of the central government has led many people to take up arms against the government. After the ouster and subsequent killing of Gaddafi, the army has disintegrated, and the central government has gradually lost its power without having much effect on the ongoing violent clashes between armed forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar. State security forces have also failed to protect the government, leaving the country unprotected and open to heavy clashes between rival militias trying to gain authority over the government and the country. Peace and political stability seems far off as no rival militias have been strong enough to put an end to the ongoing war.