TRIPOLI: An explosion hit a police station in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi on Saturday, causing extensive damage but no casualties, a security source said.
It came a day after militants killed a pro-government militiaman in an attack further to the east, in the latest violence to hit the country since the government launched a crackdown on armed groups.
The explosion at Barka police station came early in the morning, destroying the facade but leaving no causalities, the officials said.
“The explosion damaged a large part of the building. An explosive device was probably thrown,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
“Fortunately, the officers and police were in another part of the building. That is why there are no injuries.” A policeman at the scene said he was among officers who fled the building after the blast, and that there were no apparent casualties.
An AFP photographer at the site said the explosion could be heard at 7:00am and that it destroyed more than half of the police station.
It was the second bombing at the site this year.
The attacks, announced by officials, came less than a week after a car bomb exploded outside the French Embassy in Tripoli, wounding three people and partially setting the building on fire.
The bombing was the worst attack on a diplomatic mission in the North African country since the US ambassador was killed last year.
No group claimed responsibility for the weekend violence, which adds to pressure on Libya’s new leaders to rein in the lawlessness that has gripped the country since 2011, when rebels ousted Muammar Qadhafi in a civil war and then refused to lay down their arms.
Benghazi has witnessed a string of assassinations, with some 40 security and military officials killed by unknown assailants.
Western countries warned their nationals to evacuate, citing security threats, after January’s hostage crisis in Algeria that left at least 37 hostages and 29 militants dead.
Signs of infighting among militias themselves are also on the rise.
On Friday, a militiaman was killed when armed men attacked the headquarters of his pro-government group, Uqba ibn Nafi, in the eastern city of Darnah.
The area is largely controlled by radical Islamist militias, officials said.
One of Darnah’s most dangerous militia groups is Ansar Al Shariah, blamed for the attack on the US mission in Benghazi on Sept.11 which killed four Americans including the US Ambassador.