By Saber Ayyub.
Tripoli, 7 January 2016:
In one of the deadliest terror attacks in Libya to date, a massive truck bomb driven by a . . .[restrict]suicide bomber exploded early this morning at Coast Guard training camp in the coastal town of Zliten, 50 kilometre west of Misrata. Zliten municipal council has so far put the number at over 50. However, it is expected to rise. The council says there are dozens of other wounded, several of them in critical condition. As well as the local hospital, they have been taken to hospitals in Misrata and Khoms.
The local hospital has put out an appeal for blood-donors.
The truck was a fuel tanker and the suicide bomber apparently managed trick guards at the camp gates to let him in. It exploded near a large group of coast guards at their morning assembly.
The attack has all the hallmarks of one by the so-called Islamic State (IS), although it has not as yet made any claim.
“We had information that a boat arrived at the town’s shore two days ago carrying a number of strangers,” Zliten Security Directorate’s Serraj Al-Rashdi told the Libya Herald. “We started an operation yesterday to register all strangers in the town without residency permits, but unfortunately this didn’t prevent this catastrophe,” he stated.
There has been at least one other report this week of a boatload of militants, sailing from Tunisia to Sabratha where more militants were picked up and then on, further east. Its destination, however, was said to be Sirte.
Zliten, a coastal commercial town between Misrata and Khoms, has been a relative haven of peace since the revolution, with no known presence of extremists athough three and a half years ago a major sufi shrine in the town was destroyed by extremists. More significantly, however, just over a week ago, the head of the counter-crime agency was murdered when a bomb blew up under his car. That was thought to be the work of either IS or Ansar Al-Sharia.
The town, which is closely allied to Misrata, has been one of the locations for smuggling migrants to the Europe. The camp that has been attacked was being used as a main centre to train and deploy coast guards in operations against the smuggling. [/restrict]