A bomb has exploded outside of Benghazi's main hospital, according to Libyan officials, claiming several lives and injuring many more. The blast came one day after gunmen lifted a siege on government buildings.
A car bomb detonated outside of a hospital in Libya's second city, Benghazi, on Monday. The death toll varied in initial reports.
Libya's deputy interior minister, Abdullah Massoud told then news agency AFP at least 15 people were killed in the explosion. He cited a "preliminary toll."
The blast "totally destroyed a restaurant and seriously damaged nearby buildlings," Massoud added.
However, a health official speaking to the news agency Reuters gave a lower estimate of three fatalities, among them children.
Doctors were having difficulty counting the number of bodies because the force of the explosion had mangled many of the victims beyond recognition, the health official said.
Officials said more than 15 people were also injured in the blast.
No immediate claim of responsibility was made for the attack. Since the fall of former leader Moammar Gadhafi's regime in 2011, militiamen credited with overthrowing the dictator have staged numerous attacks in Benghazi, contributing to the country's lack of stability.
Monday's violence followed a recent end to a two-week siege on government ministries in Tripoli. Armed militiamen had surrounded the Foreign and Justice ministries, refusing to stand down until the government passed an exclusion law to prohibit Gadhafi-era officials from holding positions in the government.
Once lawmakers passed the law a week later, the gunmen made more demands, including for the prime minister to resign. Prime Minister Ali Zeiden persuaded them to withdraw over the weekend by agreeing to reshuffle his cabinet.
kms/ipj (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)