At least three children have been killed and 20 people injured from an explosion in the conflict racked city of Benghazi.
While the cause of the explosion is currently unclear, a reporter for the news agency, Reuters who was present at the scene near Jalaa hospital yesterday described seeing billowing smoke and flames from the site of the explosion, which destroyed several vehicles, shattered windows and scattered body parts across the area.
According to Libya’s eastern government in Tobruk, the explosion had been caused by unspecified projectiles fired into the area from nearby. However, eyewitnesses claimed that the explosion had been caused by a car bomb.
While no official claim of responsibility was issued, a series of recent car bombings within the city have previously been claimed by the Islamist, Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) the principal opponents of the Libyan National Army, (LNA) who have been fighting within the area for the past two years.
On Thursday of last week, the LNA announced the taking of several strategic points within the contested city, including that of Gwarsha, which according to the Libya Herald has been used as the site of numerous random rocket attacks upon the rest of the city.
Military operations in Benghazi originally commenced in 2014, when Libyan army commander, Khalifa Haftar launched Operation Dignity against the Islamist militias that had retained control of the area following the anarchy of the 2011 Libyan revolution and civil war.
Simultaneous to conducting military operations in Benghazi, the LNA has seized control of much of the lucrative Sirte oil basin, resuming oil production there and increasing output to 320,000 barrels per day (bpd) as of October and helping push the country’s production above 500,000 bpd.
Meanwhile, in Tripoli, Tobruk’s rival UN backed Government of National Accord, (GNA) continues to struggle to establish its authority. Further to the resurgence of the militia backed government, the GNC, who launched an October coup and still retain control over the Rixos hotel within the city center are the reports of kidnappings, power cuts and cash shortages that have become part of everyday life for those living within the city.
Prior to joining Tunisia Live, Simon worked as a freelance journalist. He has lived in Tunisia since 2013 and previously worked in Vietnam and Moscow.