Attack on checkpoint caps deadly day in Libya

Attack on checkpoint caps deadly day in Libya
Suicide bomber kills six, including an 18-month-old infant, hours after a truck bomb kills around 65 people in Libya.
2 min read
07 January, 2016
The aftermath of the truck bomb attack today which killed at least 50 people [AFP]

A suicide bomber killed six people on Thursday at a checkpoint in an oil-rich Libyan region that has been shaken by a recent jihadist assault, the Red Crescent said.

"I am at the morgue where six bodies from the site of the attack were brought, including the body of a child," said Mansour Ati, the head of Libya's Red Crescent.

The attack was carried out by a suicide bomber at the entrance to the town of Ras Lanouf, said Ossama al-Hodeiri, a spokesman for the security forces that guard nearby oil facilities, who was at the scene.

"A driver in a Toyota Land Cruiser blew himself up at a checkpoint at the entrance to the town of Ras Lanouf," said Hodeiri.

He said three guards and an 18-month-old baby were killed, and that two other guards had been wounded.

Ati said two other people died in the assault, but their identities were not clear. Reports later suggested they were relatives of the child.

The suicide bombing comes after the Islamic State group launched an offensive on Monday against Libya's key oil terminals in Ras Lanouf and nearby Al-Sidra. Fuel depots were set on fire, and continued to blaze into Thursday night.

At least 65 people were killed
in the earlier truck bombing [AFP]

The checkpoint bombing followed an attack on a police training academy in the coastal city of Zliten, east of Tripoli, when a suicide bomber driving a truck killed more than 50 people.

Seven oil storage tanks were set on fire during the fighting at oil facilities, which also killed at least 10 security guards this week, according to the National Oil Company.

Ras Lanouf and Al-Sidra are located in the so-called "oil crescent" along Libya's northern coast.

IS has been trying for several weeks to push east from its coastal stronghold of Sirte, and officials have warned of crippling consequences if the militants manage to seize control of Libya's oil resources.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Thursday's attacks in Zliten or Ras Lanouf, but IS has in the past said it was behind suicide bombings and other attacks.