Benghazi Courthouses Targeted By Explosions

Benghazi, Libya — Two courthouses in Benghazi were targeted by explosions on Sunday, according to witnesses. Videos posted online showed several vehicles destroyed at both sites.

An official in the city of Benghazi reported that the explosions injured 10 people, two seriously, outside one courthouses. One of the targeted buildings was the site of the first protests in 2011 against former dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The explosion happened right before a planned protest outside one of the courthouses to mark the second anniversary of General Abdul Fattah Younis’ death, reports Fox News.

Younis was a Gaddhafi security minister who eventually defected from the regime and joined the rebels. He was killed by his comrades in July 2011 after being arrested on suspicion of treason.

Sunday’s explosions were the latest incident in Benghazi to capture the world’s attention. They come after a popular political activist was assassinated last week. Following that, about 1,200 prisoners escaped from a jail in the city with the help of neighbors and relatives, according to reports.

Reuters notes that armed violence and general lawlessness have plagued Benghazi since Gaddhafi was killed. The problems are caused in part by armed militias who do what they want. The lack of structure has caused issues for Libya’s new government as it attempts to create peace in the post-Arab Spring nation.

Residents living near the courthouse recalled hearing a loud explosion and seeing smoke. Witness Hassan Bakoush added, “Some balconies of nearby buildings are damaged.”

Despite changes in Libya’s government, protesters in Benghazi have not been satisfied. Demonstrator Abdulhay Mohammed explained that the scene outside the courthouses on Sunday echoed that of two days ago.

He added, “We are protesting against weak security. People are angry. People are shouting ‘Benghazi wake up,’ ‘The people want the Muslim Brotherhood out’ and “[Prime Minister Ali] Zeidan gather your belongings.’ ”

Along with the courthouse explosions, hundreds of protesters attacked the Muslim Brotherhood offices in Benghazi and Tripoli. Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani told reporters in Tripoli that the government wants a team from “friendly” countries and UN Security Council members to investigate the violence and recent assassinations.