Gen Khalifa Haftar: Libya bomb targets home near Benghazi

General Khalifa Haftar

General Khalifa Haftar accuses the Libyan government of supporting terrorism

A suicide bomb attack at the home of a rogue Libyan general – who has been leading an offensive against Islamist militia groups – has killed four people.

General Khalifa Haftar survived the blast, which happed at a farmhouse in the town of Abyar, about 60km (37 miles) east of Benghazi.

Several people were wounded.

Gen Haftar’s forces have been waging a campaign against Islamist armed groups in Benghazi for almost three weeks.

The general, who was an army chief-of-staff under Col Muammar Gaddafi, accuses the government of supporting terrorism, which the authorities deny.

His actions have been backed by an array of groups, including military forces in the east as well as some members of the air force.

He said that he was well after the attack and vowed a “strong response”.

Meanwhile, a Swiss national working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been killed in Sirte.

Local media said the man was shot dead as he visited a Libyan Red Crescent building in the coastal town. The ICRC has since confirmed the death of one of its employees in Libya.

“He was attacked by gunmen as he left a meeting with two colleagues,” said ICRC spokesman Wolde Saugeron, adding that the others were unhurt but “in shock”.

Libyan militiamen loyal to rogue general Khalifa Haftar during clashes against Islamists in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on 2 June 2014
Benghazi has seen heavy fighting between Islamist militia and Gen Haftar’s forces

A suicide bomber drove a vehicle packed with explosives to the home of the renegade general on Wednesday.

General Sager Al-Jarushi, a senior commander allied to Gen Haftar, told the BBC that four of his guards were killed in the attack.

“A Toyota Chrysler packed with explosives approached the outside gate… they were stopped by the guards and the car exploded,” he said.

Gen Haftar was unharmed, according to the commander.

This is the first assassination attempt against the general since the launch of an offensive against hardline Islamists militias nearly three weeks ago, says the BBC’s Rana Jawad in the capital, Tripoli.

Map showing Benghazi and Tripoli in Libya

Some 20 people died in fierce clashes between Gen Haftar’s forces and Islamist fighters in Benghazi on Monday.

The groups being targeted by Gen Haftar’s forces are the Ansar al-Sharia Islamist militia and the February 17 brigade, which fought against Gaddafi in 2011.

No group has claimed responsibility for the latest attack.

Libya is still in turmoil three years after the fall of Gaddafi – with political, religious and political factions locked in disagreement about the country’s future.

Meanwhile, officials in Tripoli have condemned an attack on the headquarters of the prime minister after a rocket hit the third floor of the building late on Tuesday night. It caused minor damage and no-one was hurt.

Our correspondent says at the moment Libya has two prime ministers. Abdullah al-Thani resigned in April following an attack on his family, but has yet to cede power as some MPs are unhappy about the election in a chaotic session in parliament of his successor, Ahmed Maiteg, and are challenging the appointment in court.

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