Dozens killed in attack on Libyan police school

Black smoke billows in the sky above areas where clashes are taking place. (File: Reuters)

A bomb attack on a police training centre in Libya's western city of Zliten has killed and wounded dozens of people, local media reports said Thursday.

Libyan officials say a truck bomb has killed at least 60 policemen and wounding at least 200.

No one claimed responsibility for the bombing Thursday, but a local ISIS affiliate has been trying to spread to Zliten from its central stronghold of Sirte.

Zliten Hospital spokesman Moamar Kaddi says rescue crews have they only managed to extract 60 bodies out of the wreckage, and Libyan officials said they believed there might be dozens more dead.

Speaking anonymously in line with regulations, a security official said the camp was used by border police.

Libya has been beset by chaos since the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group has been gaining increasing influence.

The U.N. envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, said on Twitter that the blast was a suicide attack.

"I condemn in the strongest terms today's deadly suicide attack in Zliten, call on all Libyans to urgently unite in fight against terrorism," he wrote.

Libya has had rival administrations since August 2014, when a militia alliance overran Tripoli, forcing the government to take refuge in the east.

The United Nations is pressing both sides to accept a power-sharing deal.

On December 17, under U.N. guidance, envoys from both sides and a number of independent political figures signed a deal for a unity government, but the agreement has yet to be implemented.

World powers fear Libya could descend further into chaos and become a stronghold of ISIS on Europe's doorstep.

ISIS has in recent days launched a series of attacks on oil facilities in eastern Libya, pushing east from the group's coastal stronghold of Sirte.

Officials have warned of crippling consequences for the country if the jihadists manage to seize control of Libya's oil resources.

Oil is Libya's main natural resource, and the country sits on reserves estimated at 48 billion barrels, the largest in Africa.

(With The Associated Press)

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Last Update: 06:47 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
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