ISIS claims suicide attack in Libya’s Sebha
TRIPOLI--A blast struck a checkpoint in the southern Libyan city of Sebha on Sunday, killing at least two people including a senior police officer, local police, city officials and medics said.
A security source in Sebha said the blast was caused by a suicide bomber who detonated a car bomb.
The Islamic State (ISIS) extremist group claimed late on Sunday responsibility for the attack, saying one of its members stormed the checkpoint using an explosive-laden car.
The group identified the suicide bomber as Muhammed El Muhajer. The name is not obviously Libyan with one claim on social media that the attacker was Tunisian.
Sebha is in the deep south of Libya, about 130 kilometres from Taraghin, where Islamic State carried out a bomb attack last year that caused no casualties.
Libya has suffered a decade of chaos and violence since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising ousted the then ruler Muammar Gadhafi, but its two main warring sides this year consented to a new government.
Interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah wrote on Twitter that it had been a “cowardly terrorist act”, offering condolences to the families of the two “martyrs” killed.
“Our war against terrorism continues,” Dbeibah added.
A political crisis in the wake of Gadhafi’s overthrow saw the oil-rich country split between rival authorities in the east and west and the disintegration of security apparatuses, creating fertile ground for jihadists like the Islamic State group to take root.
Today, while the installation of a unified administration and a push for national elections in December are seen as the best hope in years for a lasting political solution, the process is still fraught with challenges.
Most territory is still controlled by local armed groups, major outside powers have not pulled foreign fighters from the front lines and key figures disagree on the management of Libya’s economic resources.