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IS claims responsibility for Libya car bombings

February 20, 2015

Three suicide bombings have left dozens of people dead in the Libyan town. Militants affiliated with "Islamic State" said the attack was in retaliation for Egyptian air raids.

Karte Libyen Al Qubbah

On Friday, three car bombs ripped through the eastern Libyan city of Qubbah which lies about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the city of Derna, a stronghold of Libya's "Islamic State" ("IS") offshoot.

The attacks were carried out on a gas station, local security headquarters and the town council building, news agency Reuters reported.

Militants claiming loyalty to IS said their fighters had been responsible for the suicide attacks, according to a statement posted on social media.

The militants "killed and wounded tens of people in revenge for the bloodshed of Muslims in the city of Derna," the statement said.

Parliamentary speaker Akila Saleh announced a seven-day mourning period in his hometown. He also insisted that Friday's bombing in Qubba was revenge for the Egyptian airstrikes.

Revenge for the Egyptian airstrikes

On Monday, Egypt's air force bombed suspected Islamic State targets, training camps and weapon cashes in Derna, a stronghold of Libya's Islamic State branch. The airstrikes occurred a day after the group issued a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian workers.

The brutal killings also raised concerns that the extremist group has spread beyond the battlefields of Iraq and Syria and established a strategic foothold closer to European shores.

US, Britain: Libya a 'chaotic country'

Libya has been engulfed in violence and chaos since longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi's ouster and death in 2011. The country is now split between two rival parliaments and governments. One is based in the capital, Tripoli, and is backed by militias allied with Islamist factions, while the other is the elected parliament near the Egyptian border.

Egypt has joined Libya's foreign minister in pressing for a UN Security Council resolution to lift a UN arms embargo on Libya and to pave the way for an international intervention – similar to the US-led campaign in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State. But two of the most powerful Security Council members, the US and Britain, have rejected the call, saying on Thursday that the chaotic country needs a national unity government first.

ra/kms (Reuters, AP)