Car bomb kills 7 in eastern Libya, terror group suspected to be behind attack

IS has built up a significant presence in Libya, exploiting a security vacuum as two rival governments battle for power four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

ISIS militants

A car bomb exploded in Derna in eastern Libya on Sunday, August 10, killing at least seven people and wounding 19 others, medics and residents said.

The explosion came as Islamic State (IS) militants pressed an offensive to retake the port city.

It was not immediately clear whether Islamic State was responsible for the car bomb as accurate information is difficult to obtain in Derna, a remote city controlled by Islamists.

IS has built up a significant presence in Libya, exploiting a security vacuum as two rival governments battle for power four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

But the militant group was expelled from Derna in June by rival groups backed up by residents angry over the arrival of foreign fighters and clerics in the city.

IS fighters were trying on Sunday to retake Derna, residents said.

The rival Islamist, Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade, managed to repulse their attack, but fighting with heavy weapons raged on the eastern edge of the city late into Sunday night, they said.

IS claimed that an Islamist commander opposing it was killed, adding that others had been killed and wounded. But no further details were immediately available.

Libyan government Air Force, based in eastern Libya since losing control of Tripoli in 2014, conducted an air strike on an area that IS was trying to take, said Abdul-Karim Sabra, a local military spokesman.

The eastern government forces have had a presence near Derna for more than one year but have not tried to take the city.

The government and parliament based in Tripoli are not recognised internationally.

Both Libyan administrations are allied to lose groups of former anti-Gaddafi rebels who have divided along political, tribal and regional lines.

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