3 Libyan soldiers killed in suicide attack

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Tripoli, Feb 21 (IANS) Three soldiers of Libya’s eastern-based army were killed on Wednesday in a suicide attack on a military checkpoint in the city of Jufra, according to military and medical sources.

“According to preliminary information, a suicide bomber driving a car attacked a military checkpoint at the western entrance of Jufra,” an official of the army’s operations chamber of Jufra told Xinhua. The town is 650 km southeast of Tripoli.

The attack occurred at 9.20 a.m. local time, the military source said on condition of anonymity, adding that the explosion destroyed the checkpoint completely, including a number of vehicles.

The Islamic State is suspected of being behind the attack, as their remnants are based between Jufra and Sirte, a city some 450 km east of Tripoli, according to the official.

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Mohamed Arabi, an officer of the emergency department of Jufra’s Al-Afia hospital, said the hospital received three bodies and three wounded, who are all soldiers.

Jufra municipality consists of five small towns, Sokna, Zalla, Al-Fog’ha, Waddan and Hoon, of which Hoon is the largest town and has the third largest military airbase in the country, while Zalla has five major oil fields which have repeatedly been attacked by IS affiliates.

Jufra links the Libyan cities of the west, east and south. It has been under the control of the army led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar since June 2017 when the area was cleared of militant groups.

–IANS

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