CAIRO – Renegade Libyan Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who is waging a military campaign against Islamist militias, vowed retaliation on Wednesday, hours after a suicide bomber targeted his house near the eastern city of Benghazi.
“Those terrorist killers have not and will not achieve any of their targets,’’ Haftar told Libyan radio al-Marj.
“They will pay a dear price.
“Our health is fine, and our morale is high. The response will be stronger than what they did.’’
Four people were killed and 23 wounded in the blast, which occurred when the bomber was intercepted at a checkpoint a kilometre from Haftar’s residence, the Libyan news site al-Wasat reported.
Haftar reportedly sustained minor injuries.
In mid-May, the retired general launched an assault on radical Islamist militias in Benghazi and quickly won the support of numerous military units and militias, including many nominally controlled by the country’s Defence Ministry.
But his drive, dubbed “Operation Dignity’’, was condemned as a coup attempt by Libya’s army Chief of staff and parliament president Nuri Abu Sahmain.
Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross said one of its staff members in Libya was killed Wednesday in an ambush in the latest attack targeting foreigners in the North African country.
The Red Cross said its delegate had been shot at point-blank range in the coastal city of Sirte.
The man and his two escorts had been leaving a meeting and were on their way back to their car when the attack occurred, Red Cross spokesman Wolde Sougeron said in Geneva.
The Swiss national, whose name was not disclosed, was brought to a nearby hospital where he died.
His companions were unharmed. Sougeron said the motive for the attack was unclear.
Libyan authorities have struggled to impose order in the oil-rich country since the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Gaddafi.
The country is paralysed by political infighting and faced with a myriad of heavily armed militias.
The latest violence came as two rival politicians both claim to be the legitimate prime minister.
Ahmed Mieeteg, who was appointed by the interim parliament a month ago in a contested vote, took over the prime minister’s offices in Tripoli on Monday.
The support of Islamist-leaning militias, the independent Libya Herald reported.
But caretaker premier Abdullah al-Thinni insisted that he remains in place, at least pending a Supreme Court decision expected this week on the validity of Mieeteg’s appointment. (dpa/NAN