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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.

Staff Reporter
19 May 2013, 12:00am
Bishop of Benghazi, Maltese Mgr Sylvester Magro is currently in Spain and was not there at the time of the attack, a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed.


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.

 

 

C Attard
They bomb our church and we give them land to build mosques, let them get away with illegal ones, waive half a million euro debts, give free land to build cemetry, and now considering to give them MORE LAND. Meantime they try to kill our priests in their land. Will the Imam have the guts to show hs face in public asking for more land and money from catholic tax payers, simply because our two shameful political parties made promises with him only for some 300 extra votes?
DAVID CARABOTT
What we give: Help in the Libyan civil war. Help to the Islamic community in Malta. €400,000 loan to keep school running + debt forgiveness now and more land to extend the Islamic centre in Malta. What we get: A tiny Catholic church in Libya being attacked like this. We respect their religion and give them freedom of speech and worship in Malta; is this reciprocated by Arab/Muslims?
Nigel Lawrence
If there is any violence in the world, one usually finds that religion is behind it.
Jean Paul Gove'
To the two posters consider the violent and tumultous history of European democracy before you condemn Arab democracy, in that it took, over a period of a hundred years, several violent revolutions, some of which were successful only temporarily, and then two World Wars, in the hangover of which Europe now wearily rests, democratic. Until the next bout.
Dr Anthony Abela Medici
WE HAVE TO THANK FRANCE, BRITAIN, ITALY AND THE USA FOR SURROUNDING MALTA BY ISLAMIST STATES WHO ARE HELL BOUND TO DESTROY CHRISTIANITY. WE HAVE TO THANK GONZI WHO SO PROUDLY DISPLAYED HIS PROWESS (SIC) IN HANDLING THE LIBYAN CRISIS WHICH HAS DESTROYED BUSINESS TIES IN MALTA, AND NOW IS RISKING MALTESE PRIESTS WHO SIMPLY PROVIDE CHRISTIAN FORTITUDE TO THOSE REQUIRING IT. IT SEEMS THAT EVERYTHING GONZI DID IN THE LAST 5 YEARS WAS GEARED AGAINST THE MALTESE PEOPLE'S INTERESTS AND EVENTS ARE PROVING IT.
Mario Attard
Will this have happened under the ex So called Dictator. Is this the kind of democracy they have after getting rid of the ex dictator? Wherever there were dictators and were removed (killed) like Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and other places, tragedies increased hundredfold and human lives became worthless. Well done Justice, Democracy and Humanity.
Albert Fenech
And yet, our two main political parties trip over themselves to crawl up to and bootlick the Islamic community in Malta, the school and the mosque. There are a few choice words to describe their servitude - pathetic, imbecile and infantile and their kow-towing is simply disgusting.
Louis Cordina
I am very sorry for the Libyan people but unfortunately there will never be peace in this region. We must appreciate the courage and dedication that our priest have in persisting to tend to their flock even when in life threating environment! They are a living symbol of what our Saviour and Lord preached.
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