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Bomber targets renegade Libyan general

A suicide car bomber has targeted the home of a renegade Libyan general who has been leading an offensive against armed groups in Benghazi, military officials say.

The attack on the home of General Khalifa Haftar on Wednesday left three people dead and injured four others.

There were conflicting reports on whether Haftar was injured in the attack, which took place in the eastern city of Benghazi. 

Haftar’s spokesman, Colonel Mohamed Higazy, said the general was not hurt but military officials said he was wounded and taken to a Benghazi hospital.

Several messages were posted on Haftar’s Twitter account, quoting Quranic verses and prophetic sayings to condemn “Takfeeris”, a term used to condemn Islamic groups that are considered extreme.

“God is the best protector”, said one message on his account, although it cannot be confirmed whether he wrote the messages himself.

Several reports suggested that the general would make a televised address shortly.

The Libyan air force’s chief of staff, Saqr al-Garoushi, was also wounded in the explosion and taken to Benghazi hospital.

It was unclear if the attacker detonated his explosives-laden car outside Haftar’s residence or if he had actually gotten inside the compound.

No claim of responsibility

No one claimed responsibility for the bombing, which bore all the hallmarks of the armed groups whom Haftar has pledged to crush since launching his offensive last month.

Haftar’s residence is less than a mile away from Benghazi’s military command in the Benghazi suburb of al-Abyar.

A former army chief under the late Muammar Gaddafi, Haftar and army units loyal to him have been battling what they call terrorist groups, mainly in eastern Libya.

He has rallied support from the country’s weakened military, anti-Islamist politicians, tribes and diplomats, pledging to crush the armed groups he blames for Libya’s instability.

Since last weekend, helicopters flown by pilots loyal to Haftar have bombed camps in Benghazi, the birthplace of the uprising that led to the toppling and killing of Gaddafi in Libya’s 2011 civil war.

The fighting has paralysed the city, with schools postponing end-of-term exams and hospitals calling for blood donations.


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(via Al Jazeera)