22 killed in car bomb attack in Libya

At least 22 people killed in a double car bomb attack in city of Benghazi.

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Ben Ariel,

Car bomb (illustration)
Car bomb (illustration)

At least 22 people were killed on Tuesday night in a double car bomb attack in the Libyan city of Benghazi.

Another 20 people were injured and the number of fatalities could rise, Fadia al-Barghathi, spokeswoman for the city's al-Jala hospital, told AFP.

The attack occurred when an explosives-rigged vehicle blew up in front of a mosque in the central neighborhood of Al-Sleimani.

A second car exploded 30 minutes later in the same area, causing more casualties among security services and civilians.

Libya has been rocked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi, with two rival authorities and multiple militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.

Military strongman Khalifa Haftar in July announced the "total liberation" of Benghazi, three years after his forces launched a military operation to seize the city from jihadists who had made it a stronghold following the revolution.

However, clashes and attacks in the city have continued, including against diplomatic facilities and security forces.

In May, the Libyan jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia, which is accused by Washington of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed the ambassador and three other Americans, announced its "dissolution".

Ansar al-Sharia is one of the jihadist groups that sprung up in Benghazi in the chaos following the death of Qaddafi. They overran the city in 2014 and later declared authority over the coastal city of Darna.

Most of Ansar al-Sharia members have defected to the Islamic State (ISIS) group, which has been gaining ground in Libya in recent years.