By Jamal Adel and Maha Suliman.
Beida and Benghazi, 30 December 2014:
There is considerable relief in Tobruk this evening that the substantial . . .[restrict]car bomb outside parliament did not kill anyone, except possibly a suicide bomber. A total of 19 people was injured and treated in Tobruk Medical Centre but none of their wounds was said to be life-threatening.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya has condemned the attack as “despicable” and once again urged all sides to accept that violence would not solve Libya’s problems.
Though some members of parliament did evacuate the Dar Al-Salam hotel after the blast, HoR spokesman Faraj Buhashem told the Libya Herald that other MPs reconvened in the conference hall that they use as the parliamentary chamber.
There they debated the security in the town and the need to take greater precautions, after what had been the third car bomb in Tobruk since parliament chose it as its temporary home. Residents said that following the attack, it was noticeable that local roadblocks were being operated strictly, often by clearly anxious troops.
It is still unclear if the blast was caused by a suicide bomber or if the explosive-laden vehicle had been driven to a side gate and abandoned before its deadly cargo was detonated remotely.
The noise of the explosion was heard over much of Tobruk, causing many residents to believe that it must have occurred somewhere in their own neighbourhood. Yet the damage to the hotel was relatively minor, with the entrance and lobby wrecked and glass windows at the front of the building blown in.
A range of people was hurt by flying glass, including members of parliament and cleaners. The injuries were mostly superficial. Among those injured was Bani Walid member Mohammed Al-Waer. One MP told this newspaper that there was widespread shock at what had happened and that he was evacuating his staff from the hotel.