A Libyan hospital and security officials say a car exploded in the eastern city of Benghazi, killing three people including a political activist close to a powerful general.

The officials say that the explosion on Saturday rocked the downtown Benghazi district of al-Kesh which is lined with busy cafes, killing Mohammed Bougages and two others. At least 12 others were wounded, some of whom were in critical condition.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to the press.

Bougages is a political activist and a fiery TV host of a daily talk show called "Frankly," which is aired on state TV. He has been an outspoken supporter of General Khalifa Hifter, who has led a campaign against extremists in Benghazi since 2014.