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Blasts target city where one of Libya's competing parliaments meets

Blasts target city where one of Libya's competing parliaments meets
A damaged car at the site of a bombing in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk on Nov. 12. (European Pressphoto Agency)

One person was killed and at least 14 others injured in two explosions Wednesday in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk, seat of the country's elected parliament, the Libyan news agency LANA reported.

The news agency, citing an unidentified security source, said the sole fatality in the latest turmoil to strike the oil-rich North African nation might have been a suicide attacker. A member of parliament, Saleh Hashem, told the Reuters news agency no bodies had been recovered.

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At the same time, a suicide car bomber attacked an air base used for civilian flights in the eastern city of Bayda, killing four troops, officials told the Associated Press.

Libya's parliament has sought a haven in Tobruk, close to the Egyptian border, to escape heavy fighting in Tripoli, the capital, and other major cities. The former parliament has refused to cede authority and remains in Tripoli.

Two rival Cabinets have been formed as a result of the rift, with one led by Abdullah Thinni and backed by the parliament in Tobruk, and another based in Tripoli, presided over by Omar Hassi.

Libya slid into chaos in the wake of the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime strongman Moammar Kadafi. The militias that had toppled him with the aid of NATO airstrikes soon turned on each other, carving the country into fiefdoms and fighting over oil wealth.

The rival political camps are backed by armed militias whose urban battles have left the Libyan state close to collapse. The Tripoli regime is affiliated with mainly Islamist militias, while the Tobruk parliament and Thinni's government have the support of militias made up of remnants of Libya's army and others.

Libya's Higher Constitutional Court this month issued a ruling saying the parliament in Tobruk is not legitimate, but it was unclear how or whether the ruling would be enforced. The United Nations and Western government have recognized the Tobruk parliament.

Hassan is a special correspondent.

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