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Libyan protesters condemn al-Qubbah bombing attacks

Protesters in the cities of Benghazi and Baydaa denounce Islamic State bombings, call for support of Libyan army
Libyan supporters of "Fajr Libya" (Libya Dawn) take part in a protest in Tripoli against bombing attacks in Qubbah on 20 February, 2015 (AFP)

Scores of Libyans protested in Benghazi’s al-Keesh Square on Friday night, following the triple suicide bombing attacks in the eastern town of al-Qubbah.

The attacks, which claimed more than 40 lives, were claimed by the Islamic State in retaliation, they said, for the airstrikes carried out on the IS stronghold of Derna earlier this week.

“This is a message to anyone who is tempted to attack the soldiers of the caliphate (IS) or any Muslim,” the IS said in a statement.

The demonstrators condemned the bombings, raised slogans demanding the lifting of the arms ban to the Libyan army, and burned the flags of the United States, the UK and Qatar.

The demonstrators called for the backing of the Libyan army, and for the international community to support the UN Security Council resolution that will overturn the ban on arms sales in order to provide the army with the necessary support to fight terrorism. They also called on the Tobruk-based government the House of Representatives to quickly appoint the army general Khalifa Haftar as the commander in chief of the Libyan army.

In a similar move, dozens of people protested in Baydaa in an angry march that denounced the attacks. The march took place on Baydaa Hospital Street, with the protesters chanting against terrorism while voicing their support for the Libyan army.

During a visit to see the injured in Baydaa Hospital, Colonel Faraj Barasi called on Libyans to come together in support of the army in the war being waged against terrorism in their own country.

“This terrorist attack is expected from these criminals,” he told Libyan news website Bawaba al-Wasat, referring to IS.

“The Libyan people should know that these terrorists do not differentiate between man, woman, and child. [IS] are criminal by nature and commit the most heinous crimes against humanity.”

In Tripoli, supporters of Fajr Libya, a militia group allied to the General National Congress also took to the streets to protest the Qubbah bombings. They also expressed their objections to the Egyptian airstrikes on Derna.