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Car bomb in Tobruk marks first breach of Libyan parliament town

Though no injuries have been reported, a state of emergency has reportedly been declared in the city
A checkpoint in Tobruk (AFP)

A car bomb explosion on Tuesday, the first attack within the perimeters of Tobruk, has stoked fears about the security of what has been seen as a relatively safe haven for Libya’s elected House of Representatives. 

The bomb was detonated near the eastern Libyan town’s security headquarters, although no casualties were reported as a result of the blast. 

A state of emergency was declared in the town following the attack, according to Anadolu Agency. 

The closest any previous attack had to come to hitting Tobruk was in June when five rockets were remotely fired, using a mobile phone, at on an airbase outside the town.

Like the most recent attack, there were no casualties and Tobruk has so far generally managed to escape the violence that has afflicted much of the rest of the country.

The attack comes as NATO General Secretary Jen Stoltenberg conceded in a speech that the international community failed in its duty to help reconstruct and sustain Libya after the its intervention in 2011.

“[NATO’s] responsibility was to conduct the military operations,” he told an audience at the German Marshall Fund in Brussels on Tuesday.

“But the international community as such, the UN, the European Union and NATO we . . . we had too little focus. And it was not clear who was responsible for the follow-up. And therefore I think that we should discuss both within NATO; but also with our partners – other international organizations, the UN, EU, lessons to be learned from Libya.”

In response to a question from a reporter, he stated that there should be a long-term vision for the country beyond military options.

“We have to focus on development, on political processes; not necessarily as NATO,” he said. “It might be the responsibility of other international organizations; that someone has to take that responsibility after military operations as those we saw in Libya.”

Libya has been wracked by violence and instability since NATO-assisted rebels overthrew the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The House of Representatives in Tobruk has conflicted with the General National Congress, whose mandate elapsed several months ago, but which was re-established in Tripoli, leaving two separate governments operating at two ends of the country.