At least two die in Libya blast near militant stronghold: residents, source


A large blast exploded near a Libyan Islamist stronghold east of the capital Tripoli on Monday, killing at least two people, military sources and residents said.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear and there were conflicting accounts of what happened in the explosion near Sirte, east of the capital.

One military source said a rocket had hit an Islamist camp near Sirte, killing seven people. But deputy defense minister, Khaled al-Sharif, wrote on his Facebook page the blast was caused by an ammunition accident, killing two people.

Residents in the area reported there was a loud explosion, but officials were not immediately available to comment further.

Sirte is a stronghold of Islamist militants who oppose the central government in Tripoli. The government is struggling to assert control over rival militias two years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.