Benghazi, 30 April:
Security sources in Benghazi say that five men have been arrested in connection with Friday morning’s bomb attack on . . .[restrict]the city’s High Court building.
Sources claim that two of them are members of the Qaddafa tribe, adding that all five, who are unnamed, are thought to be Qaddafi supporters.
The attack took place shortly after 4 am on Friday morning. At least three, possibly four, bombs exploded outside the building leaving a gaping hole in the front of the building and all the windows blown out. Four security guards were slightly injured. Windows were also shattered in the neighbouring NOC building and at the 7 October hospital opposite where another person was injured by the blasts.
It was widely believed in Benghazi that the bombings were the work of the Islamist group Takfir wal Hijra, said to have a cell in Derna. They were seen as connected with an abortive attempt nine hours earlier by unknown gunmen to storm Benghazi’s central prison. Four prison security guards were wounded in that attack.
However, following initial questioning of the men who have been arrested, the security sources now claim that the five were acting as agents provocateurs, hoping to stir up public fears about Islamists and so cause divisions and disquiet in society.
Whether this is true remains to be seen. Accusations of being Qaddafi supporters have become a convenient means of condemnation of opponents and an equally convenient explanation for incidents the real causes of which are either embarrassing or awkward.
Unfortunately, evidence from the scene of the blasts will be unreliable. After the court bombing, there was no sign of any forensic investigation of the site and people were seen wandering in and out of the building, inadvertently contaminating what evidence there might have been.