At least three UN staff dead after car explosion outside mall in Libya - The Libyan Report

At least three UN staff dead after car explosion outside mall in Libya

A bomb-laden vehicle exploded today outside a shopping mall in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, killing at least three UN security staff, health officials said.

The attack came even as the country's warring sides said they accepted a cease-fire proposed by the UN aimed at halting combat in the capital Tripoli during an upcoming Muslim holiday.

The officials said the blast took place outside Arkan Mall in the Hawari neighbourhood, where people were gathering for shopping a day before the Eid al-Adha holiday begins. The Benghazi municipal council said the attack targeted a convoy for the UN Support Mission in Libya.

The site of the attack is close to offices of the UN support mission in Libya. The officials said the two dead hailed from Libya and Fuji. The blast also wounded nine people, including a 3-year-old child and a UN staff member from Jamaica, the health officials said.

The UN special envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, condemned what he called a "cowardly attack."

"This attack will not discourage us, nor will it prevent us from carrying on with our duties to bring about peace, stability and prosperity to Libya and its people," he said in a statement.

Salame said the commitment of the parties of the UN-proposed cease-fire in Tripoli "sends an irrevocable message that the blood of Libyans, and UN staff, ... was not shed in vain in this heinous explosion."

Footage circulated online shows what appears to be burnt UN-owned vehicles, as thick smoke bellows into the sky.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief reporters.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which came just a month after two bomb-laden vehicles went off in Benghazi, the stronghold for the self-styled Libyan National Army. The July attack killed at least four people and wounded 33 others.

The warring sides, meanwhile, said they accepted a multi-day truce for the Eid holiday. source