At least four people were killed in a suicide bombing on Wednesday in Libya’s third largest city of Misrata, security officials said.
The ISIS terrorist group claimed that at that targeted the main court building in the city.
The officials said a suicide bomber was able to detonate an explosive vest inside the building in the center of Misrata, a coastal city about 200 kilometers (125 miles) east of Tripoli.
“Three men belonging to the ISIS organization carried out a suicide attack against the court complex in Misrata… killing four people and wounding 15 others,” General Mohammed Ghassri, a spokesman for armed forces in Misrata that are loyal to the country’s internationally backed government, told AFP.
He said the three men got out of a vehicle and one was able to push his way into the building and set off explosives. Of the other two, one was shot dead and the other arrested, Ghassri said.
Akram Qalawan, hospital spokesman, says the casualties are mostly civilians and security personnel working at the complex. He fears the death toll might rise further.
The city’s hospital says on its Facebook page that at least 35 people were wounded in the blast on Wednesday.
Misrata is home to powerful armed forces who were the backbone of an offensive that routed ISIS from the coastal city of Sirte in December 2016.
That offensive was backed by Libya’s UN-endorsed Government of National Accord (GNA), one of two main rival governments that emerged from the chaos that followed the 2011 ouster of long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi.
The ISIS group claimed responsibility for the bombing in an online statement.
Many of its fighters have redeployed to the country’s vast and lawless desert south.
The US military last month carried out a wave of air strikes on ISIS in Libya, killing 17 people on September 22 at a desert camp 240 kilometers (150 miles) southeast of Sirte.
The US Africa command said the camp was used to move extremists in and out of the country, store weapons and plot attacks.
In August, ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack in which 11 people were beheaded at a checkpoint manned by forces loyal to military strongman Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
Nine soldiers and two civilians were killed in that attack in the Al-Jufra region about 500 kilometers (300 miles) south of Tripoli.