0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
(Reuters) - A suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives at an army checkpoint outside the city of Benghazi on Sunday, killing 13 soldiers in the first such attack in Libya's deepening turmoil.Car bombs and assassinations of army and police officers are common in Benghazi, where troops have clashed regularly with militants from the hardline Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia.But a suicide bombing would mark a shift in tactics to fit a pattern common in other Islamist struggles in the Middle East, but not in Libya either during or since the uprising that brought down Muammar Gaddafi.The attacker blew himself up at a road checkpoint near a small military base in Barsis, some 50 km (30 miles) outside Benghazi, killing 13 people and wounding three, state news agency Lana said."A Toyota truck approached the checkpoint and parked there. There was a young man driving, but when the army troops went to check it out, the vehicle exploded," said Aymen al-Abdlay, a Benghazi army officer.A Reuters reporter at the scene saw four destroyed cars and blood splashed on the tarmac.The government postponed celebrations for Libya's independence day on December 24 and declared three days of mourning for the victims of what it called a "cowardly terrorist act," Lana said.Two of the wounded were in serious condition, the agency said. Two people were still missing.No group claimed responsibility for the attack.But Ansar al-Sharia last month fought with soldiers who drove Islamists from Benghazi, where growing violence has further increased concerns about a wider descent into disorder in oil-producing Libya.The militants are determined to impose their ultraconservative vision of Islam.All those killed in the attack on Sunday were soldiers, medical sources and security sources said.