2 killed, 143 wounded as explosion hits mosque in Libya's Benghazi

Members of the self-styled Libyan National Army loyal to the country`s east strongman Khalifa Haftar patrol the roads leading into the eastern city of Benghazi on 7 February 2018

The explosion rattled near a mosque in the Libyan city of Benghazi, leaving eight people dead, city residents told Sputnik.

Medical officials said the first blast on January 23, Tuesday evening hit worshippers leaving a mosque in Benghazi's central Al Salmani district. The website of the broadcaster Libya's Channel spoke about a "backpack with explosives". According to other reports there were one killed and 37 wounded by explosion.

The Mediterranean port town is Libya's second largest city.

Jihadists and the forces of general Khalifa Haftar have been fighting to gain control of the city for over three years before Haftar announced that his troops has retaken it last July.

Two weeks ago, around 35 people were killed by a twin bombing at a mosque in the same city.

The LNA claimed victory in Benghazi in July of a year ago, but sporadic clashes dragged on until December when it took control of its rivals' final holdout.

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He said according to preliminary investigations, the bombing was carried out remotely.

Werfalli on Tuesday said he had handed himself in to military police under Haftar's command, but it was not possible to confirm his arrest from an independent source.

Libya has been in turmoil since long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled by a NATO-backed rebellion in 2011.

The UN-backed unity government based in the capital has struggled to assert its authority outside western Libya.

On September 11, 2012, suspected jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda attacked the United States consulate in Benghazi, killing ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

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