TRIPOLI, Libya – A car bomb exploded Monday near a hospital in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, killing at least 10 people, AP reported, in one of the biggest attacks since the end of the civil war that ousted former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The Tripoli-based Interior Minister Ashour Shwayel said in an interview with Libya's al-Ahrar TV network that there were only two or three deaths from the deadly blast. Meanwhile, Benghazi police chief Tarek al-Kharaz said at least 13 people were killed and 41 wounded.
The discrepancies could not immediately be reconciled due to the chaotic aftermath and lack of coordination between agencies.
'I saw people running and some of them were collecting parts of bodies.'
- Unidentified witness
A remote control was used to detonate the explosives-laden car and weapons including Kalashnikov rifles were found inside the vehicle, according to Libyan security official Abdel-Salam al-Barghathi.
Al-Barghathi, the head of the operation room for one of the city's main security agencies stated that the car was parked next to a bakery near the main hospital when the device detonated on Monday morning.
"I saw people running and some of them were collecting parts of bodies," an unidentified witness told Reuters.
Angry locals quickly gathered to blame armed groups for the incident, calling for them to be driven from the home of the revolution that resulted in the end of Gaddafi's 42-year rule over the country.
"This is the flesh of our sons, this is what the militias have given us," said another witness at the scene. "All we need here are the police and the army."
The blast damaged a dozen or more vehicles and shattered the windows of buildings nearby, Reuters reported, sending aloft a thick cloud of smoke and flinging dust several blocks away.
Assassinations and car bombs in Benghazi have intensified over the past year as power struggles between militias intensify.