IS claims Libya checkpoint suicide bombing


Tripoli (AFP)

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of a checkpoint in a key Libyan oil region, one of two attacks that left more than 56 people dead including a baby.

The extremist organisation's Libya branch released a statement saying that Thursday's attack in Ras Lanouf, east of the IS-held coastal town of Sirte, was carried out by a foreign fighter using an explosives-packed car.

Another suicide bomber on Thursday attacked a police training school in Zliten, west of Tripoli, killing more than 50 people. No group has yet claimed responsibility for that attack.

IS has been growing in power in Libya, feeding on the chaos that has gripped the country since the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

On Monday it launched an offensive against the oil terminals in Ras Lanouf and nearby Al-Sidra, after trying for weeks to push east from Sirte.

World powers fear Libya could descend further into chaos and become an IS stronghold on Europe's doorstep.