Benghazi, 1 August:
An explosion early this morning that damaged a building near Dubai Street in Benghazi’s Fuwayhat district has left local . . .[restrict]people puzzled.
It was initially reported that the building was the local headquarters of military intelligence. However, despite being on the same site as the military intelligence HQ, it is a separate building, some distance apart, with its own entrance on another street.
According to a neighbour, Omar Erhuma. whose wall as damaged in the explosion, the building once served as offices for military intelligence but it has been long unused. He said it was last used to house a military brigade but it left some time ago.
Security officials confirm there was no one in the building at the time of the explosion, unlike the nearby intelligence HQ.
At around 5 a.m. this morning, according to Erhuma. a car stopped in the mall street. A man got out and put a number of bags against a wall. He then left and five minutes later there was a large explosion.
The fact that the building was unused has fueled suspicions as to the perpetrators’ real intentions, especially coming after two other “bomb” attempts in the city. Many feel things are not quite what they appear.
On Sunday, a bomb was found in the basement of the Tibesti hotel and diffused. On Friday, bombs were also found behind the National Security Headquarters in the city’s Hawari district.
It is being suggested that the perpetrators of all three incidents were sending a coded message rather than intent of attack. One theory is that security forces are themselves responsible. There is known to be rivalry between the local Supreme Security Committee and other security forces in the city.
“It’s very strange”, said Salah Benali, an official with a international agency in the city. “Why would people wants to make an explosion without damaging anything important?”
The National Security HQ supposedly the target of terrorists on Friday was also the subject of a half-hearted “raid” on Sunday when a group of men, in 20 armed vehicles, threatened to attack it area unless a number of prisoners were freed.
Today, in addition, to the bomb blast, security officials also reported that gunmen had stormed Benghazi’s main jail in Kuwafiyah and freed Salem Obeidi, who is a main suspect in the killing of former military commander Abdel-Fattah Younis a year ago.
However, officials have since denied the story, saying it is completely untrue. [/restrict]