By Jamie Prentis,
Tunis, 11 January 2018:
An adolescent driving a car loaded with explosives on behalf of the so-called Islamic State (IS) has handed himself in at a Misratan-run checkpoint near Abu Grain, some 140 kms west of Sirte.
Described as 15-17-years-old by sources in Misrata, the would-be bomber said he had been forced into the attack by IS militants who had kidnapped his brother “some time ago”.
He departed from the Sirte area and his target was security institutions on the road to Misrata, but not the city itself. He handed over a phone that contained the code linked to the explosives that were described as resembling tank shells.
The car was taken to a depot 20 kms south of Misrata.
Yesterday two IS cars set up a fake checkpoint on the road between Abu Grain and Sirte, searched vehicles and reportedly confiscated supplies. The jihadist group has occasionally appeared and launched hit-and-run attacks in the area since its ousting from Sirte in 2016.
The aborted attack today has similarities with one on Zliten in 2016, where over 50 people died. A massive truck bomb driven by an IS militant exploded at a coast guard training camp.