Benghazi/Tripoli — A Libyan foreign ministry building on Gamal Abdel Nasser Street in central Benghazi was blown up shortly after 6am on Wednesday (September 11th).
The blast damaged the adjacent Central Bank of Libya's Benghazi branch, as well as nearby houses. Citizens reported injuries from broken glass.
"We can't just ignore the date and timing, and all Libyans must understand this operation and its ends," Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan said in a press conference held Wednesday afternoon.
The attack coincided with the 12th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York and the first anniversary of the siege at the US consulate in Benghazi, which killed the US ambassador and three of his colleagues.
"This is because of the forces of evil and terrorism," Zidan said.
"Those forces don't want the state to make any progress; they don't want to see Libya standing on its own feet or Libyans doing well," the prime minister added.
"They want Libya to be a land for all those who got astray and to turn it into a land of battles and bombings."
"They are targeting the Libyan people and the February 17th revolution," Zidan noted.
"They are pointing their guns at the chests of police and army officers in a clear message," the prime minister said.
As to the security situation, Zidan said, "We're doing our best, but the challenges are greater than the people's will and ability. The challenges are also greater than the performance of personnel who really need to be rehabilitated."
He noted that 19,000 policemen and several thousand army personnel were trained. "However, their efficacy was below the desired level, and we had to send them overseas," the premier added.
"We won't give in to anyone," Zidan said. "Libya will be a democratic, civil, Muslim state for civilians and for Libyans."
Meanwhile, the Libyan foreign ministry issued a statement condemning the attack, labelling it a "terrorist, cowardly act". The ministry vowed to pursue the perpetrators and bring them to justice, calling on citizens to co-operate with security and judicial authorities to preserve stability.
"What happened today in Benghazi against a vital institution there is a cowardly, premeditated act targeting the security presence in town, citizens' psychological stability, and the stability and success of February 17th revolution in general," said Ibrahim Sahd, a member of the foreign policy committee in the General National Congress (GNC).
He urged the people of Benghazi to protect their city against such attacks and work to stabilise the cradle of revolution that is today targeted to destabilise Libya as a whole.
Karim al-Mansouri, a 33-year-old employee, told Magharebia that the attack would "certainly impede development and reconstruction in Libya".
"The first and last losers are Libyans who are now trapped between the hammer of bombings and assassinations and the anvil of state dereliction and absence of army and police," he added.