Libya truck bomb kills at least 60 police, wounds 200

January 8, 2016 8:39 am

 People attend a funeral of policemen killed in the bombing. Photo / AP

A truck bomb exploded in the western Libyan city of Zliten near a
police base, killing at least 60 policemen and wounding 200 on Thursday,
officials said.
No one claimed responsibility for the bombing,
but a local Islamic State affiliate has been trying to gain a foothold
in Zliten from its central stronghold of Sirte.
Rescue crews have
only managed to extract 60 bodies out of the wreckage, a hospital
spokesman, Moamar Kaddi, said. Libyan officials said they believed there
might be dozens more dead.
The base, where 400 police recruits
were training, was used by the border police, a Zliten security official
said. Border police foiled numerous human smuggling attempts off the
coast of Zliten last year. The official spoke on condition of anonymity
because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Smugglers are known in for responding with violence to any effort to disrupt their operations.
In
recent years, thousands of migrants seeking a better life in Europe
sailed from Libya on rickety, overcrowded boats. Hundreds have drowned
in those crossings.
Libya slid into chaos following the 2011
toppling and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The oil-rich
country is torn between an Islamist government in the capital, Tripoli,
and a rival internationally recognized government in the east; meanwhile
a U.N.-supported unity government sits in neighboring Tunisia.
Residents
in Libyan coastal cities have long expressed fears of the variety of
smugglers and traffickers who run lucrative operations along the
Mediterranean. Authorities echoed the same concerns, claiming they are
unable to fully tackle these networks without international assistance.

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