A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-packed vehicle into a security checkpoint outside the restive city of Benghazi in eastern Libya on Sunday, killing at least seven people, witnesses and security sources said.
The attack left body parts strewn around the area, said Moetez al-Agouri, a police officer at the post, and the death toll was likely to rise as the authorities identified them.
“Seven bodies among the victims have been identified but some other bodies were torn to pieces by the explosion,” said Agouri, who was working at the checkpoint at the time but escaped injury.
Eight people including civilians were wounded in the attack on the checkpoint 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Benghazi and were taken to hospital in the nearby town of Tokra, Agouri said.
A witness told Agence France-Presse the blast had left a large crater in the ground.
The security post’s chief, Fraj al-Abdelli, who was wounded in the attack, said the checkpoint had received several threats since arresting four people in November who were carrying weapons, explosives, money and a hit-list.
He said a police convoy transporting the suspects to a Benghazi barracks after their arrest came under attack as it entered the city. Four soldiers were killed and three wounded in the attack, he said.
Benghazi, the cradle of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, has seen a series of attacks in recent months that have killed more than 300 people.
On Friday, the head of military intelligence in Benghazi was shot dead during a visit to his family in nearby Derna.