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Car bomb explodes in Libya's Benghazi, killing two U.N. staff - medics

Car bomb explodes in Libya's Benghazi, killing two U.N. staff - medics
People gather at the site where a car bomb exploded in Benghazi, Libya August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Ayman al-Werfalli -
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By Ayman al-Warfalli

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – A car bomb explosion in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi killed two U.N. staff members on Saturday, several medical sources and the eastern military said.The United Nations is trying to broker a truce in the capital Tripoli, where the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) launched a surprise attack in April. A Reuters reporter at a Benghazi hospital where casualties of the blast were taken saw a list of names of those killed identifying them as part of the United Nations Libya mission (UNSMIL).

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday condemned the attack, a spokesman said in a statement.

“The secretary-general calls on all parties to respect the humanitarian truce during Eid al Adha and return to the negotiating table to pursue the peaceful future the people of Libya deserve,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The United Nations Security Council was due to meet later on Saturday, at the request of France, to discuss the latest developments in Libya.

LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari told reporters the two people killed were UNSMIL guards. He added that 10 people had been wounded, including children.

UNSMIL spokesman Jean El Alam said via email that the organisation was “in the process of gathering information”.

The explosion happened in front of a shopping mall and bank. At least one burned-out U.N. car could be seen at the scene.

The LNA has yet to advance beyond the southern suburbs of Tripoli, which is home to the internationally recognised government.

Around the time of the blast, LNA commander Khalifa Haftar announced a halt to military operations during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, which lasts from Saturday until Tuesday, according to a statement from his forces in Benghazi.

On Friday, the government in Tripoli said it had accepted a U.N. proposal for a ceasefire during the holiday.

However, it was not clear whether fighting in the capital would actually cease. More than 105,000 people have been displaced during the clashes, according to the United Nations.

UNSMIL will be responsible for monitoring any violations, the Tripoli government said.

(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli, Ahmed Tolba and Ulf Laessing; Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York.; Writing by Ulf Laessing; editing by John Stonestreet, Kirsten Donovan and Jonathan Oatis)

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