U.S. diplomatic mission bombed in Libya

The Guardian reports: A bomb exploded outside the gates of the US consulate in Libya’s second city, Benghazi, on Tuesday night, in the first attack on an American diplomatic target in the country since the fall of Gaddafi.

There were no casualties reported and the explosion caused damage to the surrounding wall but a US embassy spokesman in Tripoli said they were still waiting for a full damage assessment.

He said the culprits were unknown but that security has been tightened around US diplomatic missions in both Benghazi and the capital, Tripoli.

“The United States deplores the attack on the mission in Benghazi,” said the spokesman. “We want a full investigation.”

Suspicion will fall on jihadist militias operating in the eastern Libyan city, who came to prominence in April when they were filmed using hammers to smash tomb stones and monuments at the Commonwealth Graves cemetery in the city.

After the senior al Qaeda leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi, was assassinated in a drone attack on Monday, Noman Benotman, a former senior member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) who spent significant time with al-Libi in the 1990s, spoke to CNN. Benotman says that al-Libi had significant influence with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al Qaeda’s North African affiliate. CNN reported: “With his death, it is possible there may be a backlash by pro al Qaeda forces in Libya. According to several sources, al Qaeda has developed a presence in eastern Libya, where it has recruited and trained several hundred fighters.”

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