A car bomb explosion in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi killed three UN staff members and two other mission members on Saturday, the United Nations said, Reuters reports.
The attack came as the United Nations was brokering a truce in the capital Tripoli, where the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) force launched a surprise attack in April, part of the chaos in Libya since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday condemned the attack, a spokesman said in a statement.
“The UN does not intend to evacuate from Libya,” the assistant secretary-general for peace operations, Bintou Keita, later told the Security Council, which also condemned the attack.
The United Nations gave no more details, saying only some of its casualties had been members working in Benghazi, where its Libyamission had been boosting its presence recently.
LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari told reporters two of those killed were guards with the UN Libya mission (UNSMIL). He added that 10 people had been wounded, including children.
The explosion happened in front of a shopping mall and bank. At least one burned-out UN car could be seen at the scene.
The LNA has yet to advance beyond the southern suburbs of Tripoli, which is home to the internationally recognised government.
Around the time of the blast, LNA commander Khalifa Haftar announced a halt to military operations for 48 hours during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, which started on Saturday, according to a statement from his forces in Benghazi.
On Friday, the government in Tripoli said it had already accepted a UN proposal for a ceasefire during the holiday.
However, it was not clear whether fighting in the capital would actually cease. More than 105,000 people have been displaced during the clashes, according to the United Nations.
UNSMIL will be responsible for monitoring any violations, the Tripoli government said. Analysts say it is unclear whether UNSMIL has the capacity to monitor a truce as it has moved out most of its staff for security reasons.
Benghazi and the east is controlled by Haftar’s LNA allied to a parallel government in the east challenging the Tripoli administration.
Pro-Haftar forces in Libya have been accused of yet another mass atrocity, this time in an airstrike on a public building in southwestern Libya, according to new reports, following an attack on a migrant center in Tripoli July 3rd which killed 44 people and wounded some 180. Al Jazeera is reporting a new drone strike Monday killed at least 40 people who were attending a wedding ceremony in the town of Murzuq.
At least four people were killed and 33 wounded when two car bombs exploded at a funeral for a former special forces commander in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. Those killed in Thursday's blast included two civilians and two soldiers, while soldiers, police, and civilians were among the injured, Interior Ministry spokesman Tarek el-Kharraz told The Associated Press.
The United Nations Security Council has called on Libya's warring parties to commit to a ceasefire after a deadly air raid on a detention centre for migrants and refugees near the capital, Tripoli. "The members of the Security Council stressed the need for all parties to urgently de-escalate the situation and to commit to a ceasefire," the 15-member body said in a joint statement on Friday. "Lasting peace and stability in Libya will come only through a political solution."
Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) General Khalifa Haftar said yesterday that his main focus is taking control of the Libyan capital Tripoli and expelling militias from the city, explaining that he does not only care about the army’s exportation of oil. In a letter to US news agency Bloomberg, Haftar said that the Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation currently enjoys exclusive export rights for Libyan crude oil.
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