Car bomb blast rocks Libya parliament headquarters

Car bomb blast rocks Libya parliament headquarters

Tue Dec 30, 2014 5:34PM GMT

A car bomb has exploded outside the headquarters of the internationally-recognized Libyan parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Media reports say a bomb device went off on Tuesday at the entrance of al-Salam Hotel that hosts the parliament.

Parliamentary spokesman, Farraj Hashem, said the blast occurred when lawmakers were holding a meeting in a nearby hall.

Local media reports say the blast also destroyed the glass front of the hotel and damaged some neighboring buildings.

Eyewitnesses say an unspecified number of passers-by were wounded in the explosion; however, some reports put the number at nearly a dozen.

Libyan government’s security forces have cordoned off the area and launched an investigation into the explosion.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but security officials put the blame on militia groups who have carried out similar assaults in the past.

The latest bombing is the biggest attack on the parliament in Tobruk to date. Also in November, a car bomb exploded in the volatile city, but did not target the assembly.

Libya’s government and the parliament buildings moved to the city after an armed group from the town of Misrata seized the capital Tripoli and most government institutions in August.

Libya plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The ouster gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.

The country has witnessed numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups that refuse to lay down their arms. Fighting between government forces and powerful militias has left hundreds of people dead and thousands displaced in recent weeks.

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