A suicide car bomb tore through the Guwarsha District of Benghazi today, reportedly targeting troops loyal to Gen. Khalifa Hifter, whose faction has been aiming to take parts of the city in recent weeks. Medics say at least 22 people were killed and 20 wounded, but did not identify how many were actually soldiers.
Benghazi’s Shura Council, a local Islamist faction which controls much of the city, claimed credit for the attack, and also claimed more casualties, saying they believed 28 were killed and as many as 70 others wounded in the incident.
Hifter’s forces, loyal to the Tobruk Parliament, one of three active governments in Libya, has been fighting with the Shura Council for years, and there appears to be an uptick in the amount of fighting in recent days, as the two sides come into direct conflict over territory.
Benghazi is a hugely valuable city for whoever controls it, but like much of Libya it has resisted efforts by outside forces, even from neighboring towns, to set up shop there, and the Shura Council, which is at any rate a local force, appears to have a decided advantage in any major battles there.