Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Report strong explosion at hotel in Benghazi

A strong explosion occurred in the parking lot outside a large hotel in the city of Benghazi, the Libyan rebel stronghold, said the Qatari television network Al Jazeera showed pictures of some vehicles on fire in front of the hotel establishment. The blast occurred late in the afternoon in the hotel parking Tivesti, the most luxurious of the rebel capital, where they often host foreign delegations visiting Benghazi as well as international journalists and leaders of the insurgents.

At least two parked cars were completely burnt by the blast, which caused damage to other cars and a large cloud of black smoke in the center of the city, according to images broadcast by the Qatari channel. It is not immediately known if there have been casualties in the explosion, but witnesses and hotel employees contacted by Al Jazeera stated that there have been no injuries and no body evacuated by ambulances.

Several dozen people gathered minutes after the explosion across the street shouting slogans against the regime of Moammar Gadhafi and waving the flags of rebellion. The Tivesti hotel is located by the sea in the center of the rebel capital and home to several foreign missions recently opened in Benghazi, as the office of the European Union (EU).

Early indications suggest it could be a car bomb given the nature of the explosion, according to Qatari chain.

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