A powerful car bomb exploded Wednesday near Libya’s Foreign Ministry building in the heart of the eastern coastal city of Benghazi, security officials said, exactly one year after an attack there killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
CBS The early morning blast targeted a building that once housed the U.S. Consulate under the rule of King Idris, who former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi overthrew in a 1969 bloodless coup. The explosion caused no serious casualties, though several passers-by were slightly wounded, officials said.
The bomb blew out a side wall of the building, leaving desks, filing cabinets and computers strewn among the concrete rubble. It also damaged the Benghazi branch of the Libyan Central Bank along a major thoroughfare in the city.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The car bombing comes exactly one year after al Qaeda-linked militants stormed the U.S. mission in Benghazi and a nearby U.S. building, killing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Car bombs and drive-by shootings since the end the civil war routinely kill security officials in Benghazi, the birthplace of the uprising.
Tawfiq Breik, a lawmaker with the liberal-leaning National Forces Alliance, said that the attacks will continue as long as Libya lacks a strong national army and police. “Even with so many officials assassinated, no one held accountable,” Breik said. “No one arrested. The state is disabled.”
The Associated Press reported in May that American officials had identified five men who might be responsible for the attack. Some in the photographs are thought to be members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan militia group whose fighters were seen near the consulate prior to the violence. Other witnesses reported seeing the leader of an Islamist militia group called Abu Obaida Bin Jarrah, whom U.S. officials told the AP is among the suspects in the sealed indictment.