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Updated | Bombers target Catholic church in Benghazi, priests escape unhurt
Foreign affairs Minister George Vella expresses government's concern at the instability afflicting Benghazi and the surrounding areas.
19 May 2013, 12:00am
Fr Alan Castillo and Fr Raghib Marzouk escaped unhurt after a bomb went off at the Catholic church in Via Torino, Benghazi, late Friday night.
According to sources, a bomb was placed at the main of the church when an explosion rocked the area at around 11.30pm shattering several glass windows on the opposite side of the narrow road and also several windows in the building adjacent to the church housing the priests.
Fortunately, Maltese bishop Mgr Sylvester Magro was not there as he is currently in Spain attending a religious function.
Fr. Alan Castillo and Fr. Raghib Marzouk were however present at the time of the explosion, but both escaped uninjured.
Soon after the explosion security officials cordoned the area barring anyone from entering or leaving the area.
No one was hurt in this incident.
Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella also contacted the Maltese Consul in Benghazi Joe Pirotta to obtain "first hand" information on the incident and to express his solidarity with the people.
The Maltese Consulate is the only consulate, from among the EU member states, still open in Benghazi. The other consulates are those of Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt.
In a statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry described the situation in Benghazi as being "highly fluid" and "easy to obtain explosive material".
Vella also spoke to Fr Alan Castillo, a father from the Philippines who assists Mgr Magro in his work. Fr Castillo said repair works to the church will be carried out by a Maltese man who lives near Benghazi.
Vella said that the situation in Libya was worrying the Maltese government, especially due to the Maltese citizen who in this case were giving their diplomatic and ecclesiastical services.
"The situation is worrisome and our attention is focused on to see how matters will develop, especially in the surrounding areas of Benghazi were the situation is highly instable," the foreign affairs minister said.
Vella added the Maltese government condemned all attacks: "We will be strengthening our bilateral and international efforts in the hope that the situation in Libya normalises as soon as possible."
Despite the end of the revolution, bomb attacks are still taking place in Benghazi. On the same night there were other bombs placed in different parts of the city: A bomb went off in the early hours of the morning outside the diabetes clinic in Sidi Hussein area; another bomb was placed inside one of the pipes of the Great Man Made River monument in Sciara Dubai; a third bomb was placed near the headquarters of one of the brigades manning the checkpoints close to the souk area by the sea.
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