August 10, 2019
A security official inspects the site where a car bomb exploded in Benghazi, Libya August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – A car bomb explosion in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi killed three U.N. staff members on Saturday, several medical sources said.The attack came as the United Nations was brokering a truce in the capital Tripoli, where the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) launched a surprise attack in April.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday condemned the attack and confirmed two dead, a spokesman said in a statement. A medic said another U.N. staffer later died of his wounds in a hospital.
“The secretary-general calls on all parties to respect the humanitarian truce during Eid al Adha and return to the negotiating table to pursue the peaceful future the people of Libya deserve,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
He did not give any details about the attack.
The United Nations Security Council was due to meet later on Saturday, at the request of France, to discuss the latest developments in Libya.
LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari told reporters the two people killed were guards with the United Nations Libya mission (UNSMIL). He added that 10 people had been wounded, including children.
UNSMIL spokesman Jean El Alam said via email that the organization was “in the process of gathering information”. He could not be reached for further comment.
The explosion happened in front of a shopping mall and bank. At least one burned-out U.N. 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 recognized 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 U.N. 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.