At least two suicide bombers launched attacks in the Libyan town of Qubba earlier today. Early casualty reports say that more than 40 people were killed. The attacks were quickly claimed by one of the Islamic State’s so-called “provinces” in Libya.
The group posted pictures of two of the Caliphate’s “knights” and the aftermath of their bombings on Twitter.
The Islamic State’s province says the attacks were revenge for the spilling of Muslim blood in Derna, which has been bombed by Egyptian war planes. The Egyptian government launched the airstrikes in retaliation for the Islamic State’s mass beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians earlier this month.
The nom de guerre used by one of the suicide bombers indicates that he was a Saudi. The other attacker was a Libyan. A photo of one of the terrorists can be seen above, and additional images from the Islamic State’s photo set are included at the end of this article.
There is some confusion in the aftermath of the explosions, as some reports suggested more than two bombings were part of the operation. But at least two explosions are confirmed. According to the Associated Press, a Libyan army spokesman says that most of the casualties occurred when one of the terrorists “rammed an explosives-packed ambulance into a gas station where motorists were lined up.”
Qubba is not far from the Libyan city of Derna, which is a known hotbed for jihadism. The Islamic State’s followers have a significant presence in Derna, but do not govern the entire city, as has been widely reported. Other jihadist groups, including the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade (ASMB), continue to operate in Derna and control significant parts of the city.
The Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in Derna, which was formed by the ASMB and is an alliance of jihadist groups, has denounced Egypt’s airstrikes as well. The jihadist coalition has released a statement and photos on its official Twitter feed that supposedly show the devastation done by the aerial campaign. The MSC and its constituent groups are among the Islamic State’s rivals in Libya.
In addition to the bombings in Qubba, the Islamic State’s branch in Libya has launched a fresh round of attacks in the city of Sirte. As has become commonplace in Libya, a column of armed Islamic State trucks recently paraded through the city in a show of force. Similar parades have been held in Derna and Nawfaliyah, a town the Islamic State’s followers claimed to have captured, at least temporarily.
The jihadists have reportedly seized control of a university in Sirte, as well as other buildings and facilities.
Photos posted by the Islamic State’s branch in Libya showing today’s suicide bombers and the aftermath of their attacks.