Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Libya arrests 32 Qadhafi loyalists over twin car bombings

The Libyan authorities have arrested 32 members of a network loyal to former leader Mu'ammar Qadhafi in connection with Sunday's twin car bombings in Tripoli. According to a number of reports, two people were killed by bomb blasts near a former military academy for women and the interior ministry.
A security agency said the group had been linked to the bombings, the first of their kind since the overthrow of Qadhafi last year. The bomb attacks took place on the eve of the anniversary of the fall of Tripoli to rebel fighters last year. The attacks occurred at dawn, one of them close to the interior ministry's administrative offices, and the other near the military academy on Omar al-Mokhtar Avenue.
Tripoli's head of security Col Mahmoud Sherif said the blast outside the military academy left two people dead and four or five injured. No casualties were reported from the other explosion. Sherif said that Qadhafi supporters were responsible for the attacks. He also alleged they were receiving financial backing from contacts in neighbouring countries.
Another official speaking to Reuters news agency said that a connection between the group and the attacks had been established. The attacks took place as crowds prepared for mass morning prayers to mark Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim celebration at the end of the fasting month Ramadan.
Earlier this month, Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) handed over power to a newly elected assembly, in the first peaceful transition in the country's modern history. But outbreaks of violence remain a frequent occurrence, which the security forces are strugging to curtail.
Sources: BBC News, Reuters, Bloomberg
For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

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