A Libyan branch of the Islamic State Group has claimed a car bomb attack that killed at least one security agent and injured several others at a former air force academy near the town of Al-Khoms, east of the capital Tripoli and west of Misrata.
A car bomb exploded Tuesday night at a checkpoint on the coastal road outside Al-Khoms, killing one guard and injuring seven others, two of whom were subsequently reported dead, as Libya Herald reported.
“The soldiers of the caliphate hit the air force academy of the apostates of Libya Dawn with a car bomb” Wednesday’s IS statement said, adding that “several apostates were killed or injured” in the attack.
The guards at the checkpoint are members of a local security force loyal to Libya Dawn, the Islamist-leaning armed coalition that seized Tripoli in the summer of 2014 and controls much of western Libya.
The Tripolitania branch of the Islamic State Group (IS Wilayat Tarablus) has launched several attacks on Libya Dawn forces over the past few months from its stronghold Sirte, the main city in central Libya.
Sirte is only about 240km east of the city of Misrata, whose military dominance is threatened by the expansion of the Islamic State Group. This latest attack is likely meant as a show of force given that Al-Koms is located west of Misrata, the main military stronghold in western Libya.
In June, IS militants attacked the Abu Grain checkpoint halfway between the two cities, slitting the throats of several Misratan guards. In July the IS Group claimed the assassination of a military intelligence officer in Misrata as well as an attack on the city’s airbase.