LIBYA

IS group loyalists claim deadly car bombing in eastern Libya

Abdullah Doma, AFP file picture

Militants vowing allegiance to the Islamic State group claimed responsibility on social media for a triple car bombing in the Libyan city of Qubbah on Friday that killed at least 40 people.

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The militants "killed and wounded tens of people in revenge for the bloodshed of Muslims in the city of Derna", said the statement, issued by a group calling itself the "Islamic State, Cyrenaica province".

At least 70 others were wounded in the triple suicide car bombing. The deadliest blast saw an ambulance packed with explosives ramming a gas station where motorists were lined up, army spokesman Mohammed Hegazi said. Two other bombers detonated vehicles next to the house of the parliamentary speaker and the security headquarters in Qubba, which lies about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from Derna.

Speaking to Al-Arabiya television earlier in the say, parliamentary speaker Aguila Saleh said the bombs were likely in retaliation for allowing Egyptian air strikes earlier this week on Islamist targets inside Libya.

“We are announcing seven days of mourning for the victims of Qubbah,” he said.

Egypt launched air strikes on suspected Islamic State (IS) group targets on Monday, a day after the group released a video showing the slaying of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian workers.

Libya remains in a state of chaos four years after former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled, with two governments and parliaments now vying for legitimacy and territory.

Since Gaddafi's overthrow, rival Islamist and secular militias have battled for control over many areas of the country as well as the capital, Tripoli.

A US statement condemned the latest attack and called for dialogue.

"This latest terrorist attack underscores the need for all Libyan parties ... to participate in the UN-led dialogue convened by Bernardino Leon, the special representative of the
UN secretary general (Ban Ki-moon), to form a national unity government," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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