Bomb blast wounds Libyan activist in Benghazi

by Reuters
Thursday, 6 February 2014 16:59 GMT

BENGHAZI, Libya, Feb 6 (Reuters) - A Libyan political activist was critically wounded when a bomb exploded under his car as he drove through the eastern city of Benghazi on Thursday, security sources and his relatives said.

No-one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on Abdullah Gharyani, a member of a campaign group calling for early elections to replace an interim parliament it accuses of failing to stabilise Libya.

Two years after the uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's interim rulers have struggled to contain Islamist fighters and militias still vying for a share of power in the oil-producing country.

Political tensions and violence have been mounting in Benghazi in the buildup to protests planned this weekend against the parliament's decision to extend its term beyond its official end date of Friday.

Gharyani "was driving his car when it was blown up in the area of al-Kiesh. He was seriously injured and now he is undergoing surgery to save his life," an official at Benghazi Medical Centre said.

One of Gharyani's relatives, who asked not to be named, said the bomb was planted underneath the car, near the driver's seat. "It was the same style used in the assassination of security officers," the relative told Reuters.

Five security officers have been killed in attacks in Benghazi over the last week alone.

Late on Thursday, masked men opened fire and threw a hand-made bomb at the office of two television channels in the city.

Members of parliament approved a new "roadmap" on Monday that extended their mandate to give a special committee more time to write a new constitution.

The constitutional debate is seen as key to advancing the country's transition to democracy, but many Libyans are frustrated by the lack of progress after the revolution that promised new freedoms and economic development. (Reporting by Ayman Al Warfalli and Ghaith Shennib; editing by Patrick Markey)

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