By Maha Ellawati, Ashraf Abdul Wahab and Ahmed Elumani
Benghazi and Tripoli, 18 May 2013:
A grim faced Minister of Defence, Mohammed Mahmoud Al-Barghati visited Benghazi this evening after a fresh bout of violence gripped the city.
He told a meeting of city officials and civil society organisations that assaults on hospitals and the city centre were “unbearable’. He said that Benghazi was being punished for its role in the 17 February revolution. He called for firm action against anyone who took up arms to try to destabilise the country.
The last 24 hours Benghazi have seen four new bomb attacks, albeit with only one minor injury and no fatalities, while angry protestors gathered outside the Tibesti hotel denouncing the men of violence and demanding that the army, security forces and elected government be supported.
The bombs, all believed to be of a gelatina-type, exploded in the small hours of this morning, Saturday; outside the Orthodox church, near two Thunderbolt Battalion checkpoints and in front of the Sidi Hussein diabetic clinic. After one of the checkpoint attacks, three suspects, said to be two Libyans and a Sudanese national, were detained in the grounds of a nearby school after the security forces moved rapidly to cordon off the area.
On Friday, demonstrators had gathered near the Tibesti hotel to decry last week’s bomb blast outside the Jala’a Hospital and the two days of attacks on the Al-Hadaiq police station. Shouting that Benghazi was “not another Kandahar”, but a legitimate state, the protestors called on ordinary citizens to support the police and army in getting rid of illegal armed militias.