Unidentified gunmen attack Ottoman-era mosque in Libya

The Ottoman-era Mosque of Murad Agha in Libya's Tajura was bombed.

Unidentified gunmen attack Ottoman-era mosque in Libya

World Bulletin / News Desk

Unidentified gunmen early Wednesday bombed the Ottoman-era Mosque of Murad Agha in Tajura, located on the outskirts of Libyan capital Tripoli, eyewitnesses said.

The 16th-century mosque and the shrine it contains represent "one of Libya's most important historic sites," Hossam Bash Imam, head of Tripoli's Historic Towns Agency, told Anadolu Agency.

The group planted explosive charges and detonated them, causing damage to the mosque building, the official said.

The mosque was built in 1551 by Murad Agha, the first Ottoman leader of Libya, who was subsequently buried in it, Imam said.

Authorities have already launched an investigation into Wednesday's bombing, Imam said, since the site falls under the jurisdiction of Libya's antiquities protection law.

"Murad Agha is considered a revered Sufi figure," Imam said of the mosque's medieval namesake.

"So his mosque has traditionally drawn the admiration of many Libyans."

During a 2011 visit to Libya, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a visit to the historic mosque.

Within the past two years, several Sufi shrines and sites in Libya have been struck by bombings. Officials, for their part, point the finger at "extremist groups."

Libyans have struggled to restore order to their country since the death two years ago of longstanding strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

The transitional government and its security forces, meanwhile, have struggled to contain the armed groups that helped overthrow Gaddafi but which held onto their weapons after the 2011 uprising.

Last Mod: 27 Kasım 2013, 16:52
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