2 consulates hit by bomb in Benghazi

TRIPOLI, Libya — A car bomb exploded outside a building housing the Swedish and Finnish consulates in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Friday, badly damaging it but causing no casualties, Libyan and Swedish officials said.

The blast reflected the deep insecurity in the North African nation, where multiple armed militias run rampant — many of them dominated by Islamist militants — and the central government is too weak to rein them in.

The violence is particularly sharp in Benghazi, the country’s second largest city, which has seen frequent killings of Libyan security officials and a string of attacks on diplomatic facilities, most notably the Sept. 11, 2012, storming of a US diplomatic post that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans.


The attack comes in the wake of a US special forces raid last weekend that snatched an Al Qaeda suspect from the streets of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, spiriting him off to custody in a US warship. Many militiamen and Islamist militants were angered by the raid, blaming the Libyan government — and on Thursday, gunmen briefly kidnapped the country’s prime minister.

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Some militiamen have hinted of retaliation against Americans — or other foreigners — but there was no immediate sign Friday’s bombing was linked to the raid.

Associated Press