Islamic State claims suicide bombing in Libya’s Benghazi

Libya has descended into chaos since fall of Gaddafi Photo: Sam Tarling/The Telegraph

(Reuters) – Islamic State militants claimed a suicide bombing that killed seven people at an army checkpoint in the Libyan city of Benghazi on Tuesday and triggered retaliatory air strikes by army forces.

In a separate incident in Libya’s second-largest city, where army forces are fighting Islamist militants, a rocket hit a residential building, killing a 17-year old girl and another person, medics said.

Three others were wounded. It was unclear who fired the rocket. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the checkpoint suicide bombing in a statement posted on Twitter.

The violence in Benghazi typifies chaos in Libya where two rival governments and parliaments allied to armed factions are competing for power four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

Militants claiming affiliation to Islamic State, the group that controls much of Syria and Iraq, have exploited the turmoil by expanding in several parts of the oil producer.

The militants have in recent weeks claimed several high-profile attacks such as the storming of the Corinthia luxury hotel in Tripoli, killing five foreigners and the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts on a beach.

A car laden with explosives drove into an army checkpoint in the Lithi district of Benghazi, where army officials say Islamist militants are holed up. Five of those killed were soldiers, the other two civilians, army officials said.

Later in the evening, war planes took off from Benghazi airport and attacked suspected Islamist positions, said Naser al-Hasi, a spokesman for the military base…