A massive truck bomb exploded near a police base in the western Libyan town of Zliten, killing at least 60 police officers and wounding around 200 others, officials have said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but a local Islamic State affiliate has been trying to gain a foothold in Zliten, spreading westward from its central stronghold of Sirte along the North African country’s coast.
Hours after the blast, rescue crews at the scene had only managed to extract 60 bodies. Libyan officials said they believed there might be dozens more dead.
The police base, where about 400 recruits were training, was used by Libya’s border police.
Border police foiled numerous human smuggling attempts off the coast of Zliten last year.
Smugglers operating in Libya are notorious for responding with violence to any attempt to disrupt their lucrative operations, but there have been no reported incidents in which they used car bombs, suggesting that Islamic militants are more likely to have been behind the attack.
Also, it was not immediately clear whether the attack was a suicide bombing, a hallmark method of Islamic militants.
In recent years, thousands of migrants seeking a better life in Europe sailed from Libya on rickety, overcrowded boats. Hundreds have drowned in those crossings.
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