Twin suicide attacks rock Libya’s Derna with reported casualties

Casualties have been reported in the Chiha district in the south of the town of Derna in Libya as two suicide bombers on Tuesday hit forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar who is leading an offensive against extremists in an eastern town.

Spokesperson Khalifa Al Abidi did not give a toll for the attacks but said civilians were among the casualties as the roof of a family home collapsed.

Just the night before the suicide bombing another suicide attack killed two fighters of Haftar’s Libyan National Army and wounded three, the spokesman said.

Over the past month, the self-styled LNA has been engaged in an offensive to take Derna, the only eastern town outside Haftar’s control.

Derna is held by a ragtag alliance of extremists militias, including groups close to Al-Qaeda, hostile to both Haftar and the Daesh group.

The coastal town is located more than 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) east of the capital Tripoli and around 300 kilometers east of second city Benghazi.

Abidi said the LNA is “advancing steadily to liberate a very small remaining pocket before liberating the whole of Derna.”

He said “terrorists” were “resorting to suicide attacks after they failed to tackle” the LNA conventionally.

Haftar supports an administration based in the east which opposes the internationally recognized government in Tripoli.
The strongman’s critics claim he wants to establish a military dictatorship.

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