The explosion comes hours after Libya's UN-supported government says it accepted a ceasefire proposed by the UN aimed at halting combat in the capital, Tripoli, during the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha.

People gather at the site where a car bomb exploded in Benghazi, Libya August 10, 2019.
People gather at the site where a car bomb exploded in Benghazi, Libya August 10, 2019. (Reuters)

A bomb-laden vehicle exploded Saturday outside a shopping mall in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, killing at least three UN security staff, health officials said. 

The attack came even as the country's warring sides said they accepted a ceasefire proposed by the UN aimed at halting combat in the capital Tripoli during an upcoming Muslim holiday.

The officials said the blast took place outside Arkan Mall in the Hawari neighbourhood, where people were gathering for shopping a day before the Eid al Adha holiday begins. The Benghazi municipal council said the attack targeted a convoy for the UN Support Mission in Libya.

The site of the attack is close to offices of the UN support mission in Libya. The officials said the two dead hailed from Libya and Fuji. The blast also wounded nine people, including a three-year-old child and a UN staff member from Jamaica, the health officials said.

Footage circulated online shows what appears to be burnt UN-owned vehicles, as thick smoke billows into the sky.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief reporters. A spokeswoman for the UN mission in Libya did not answer phone calls seeking comment.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said in a statement that three UN workers were among the wounded.

"The Secretary-General extends his deepest condolences to the bereaved families and wishes a swift recovery to all the injured.
He calls on the Libyan authorities to spare no effort in identifying and swiftly bringing to justice the perpetrators of this attack," Dujarric said.

Truce for Eid holiday 

The warring sides, meanwhile, said they accepted a multi-day truce for the Eid holiday, which begins Sunday.

Earlier this week, the UN envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame urged the LNA and the UN-supported government to declare a ceasefire for the holiday.

The Tripoli-based government on Friday responded positively to the proposal, while LNA spokesman Ahmed al Mosmari told a news conference in the eastern city of Benghazi on Saturday that they would abide by the ceasefire from Saturday to Monday.

If it takes place, the ceasefire would be the first since the LNA, led by military commander Khalifa Haftar, launched a surprise military offensive on April 4 aimed at capturing Tripoli, ushering in fierce battles with militias loosely allied with a UN-supported but weak administration in the capital.

"Four conditions"

The GNA listed "four conditions." 

It said the ceasefire must be observed "in all combat zones, with a cessation of direct and indirect fire and movement of troops".

It said the truce must include "a ban on flights and reconnaissance overflights across the entire (Libyan) airspace as well as a halt to flights from airbases".

The GNA had also called on the UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to "ensure the implementation of the truce and note any breaches".

The battle for Tripoli has killed over 1,100 people, mostly combatants, and has displaced more than 100,000 civilians.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies