By Bryan Yeoh Quan Jin, International News Writer
On January 24, two car bombs exploded near a mosque in the Libyan city of Benghazi, killing at least 34 people. The Libyan National Army (LNA) currently controls Benghazi. Since taking over control of Benghazi, the LNA under its leader, Khalifa Haftar, has managed to establish a semblance of peace over the area. While violent incidents are definitely uncommon, an event of this scale has not been seen in some time.
In a statement to the Guardian, Captain Tarek Alkharraz, a spokesman for military and police forces in Benghazi, said the first explosion happened in the Salmani neighbourhood at about 8:20 pm on Tuesday. The second car bomb exploded on the other side of the street roughly half an hour later.
As of now, no group has come forward and claimed responsibility for this incident. According to BBC’s North Africa correspondent, Rana Jawad, many bombings of this kind in Libya go unclaimed.
The removal of Muammar Gaddafi from power in 2011 has precipitated a period of chaos and turmoil in Libya. Since then, many militia groups have vied for control over various territories in Libya. In Benghazi, the group under Haftar is known to be in opposition against Islamist militias. Weak and divided political leadership has only exacerbated the chaos and allowed the Islamic State to enter into the country. Since 2011, militias and tribes in Libya have split their allegiances between the UN-backed government in Tripoli and a rival government in Benghazi, for which Haftar is a proponent. Efforts to reconcile the two differing factions have been futile so far.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 30th print edition.
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