Car bomb defused outside hotel in Libyan capital

TRIPOLI Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:31pm EDT

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TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan security forces defused a dozen bombs found in a car parked outside a luxury hotel in the capital Tripoli, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.

The car was parked near the Radisson-Blu, a seafront hotel popular with foreign business people, on Monday evening. The bombs were discovered a week after officials said another large hotel may have been the target of a rocket that landed nearby.

State news agency LANA quoted Interior Ministry spokesman Rami Kaal as saying there were 12 bombs linked by an electrical circuit and 10 seven-liter cans of fuel inside.

"The explosives, which had been set to be activated from a distance, were defused," LANA quoted Kaal as saying.

Armed groups have launched several attacks on foreign diplomats and buildings since dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011. France's embassy in Tripoli was bombed in April.

Most of the assaults have been in the volatile east, the cradle of the anti-Gaddafi uprising, including last September's attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed.

The oil-rich country's new government is struggling to contain both Islamist militants and heavily-armed militias who took part in the 2011 revolution.

Last week, officials said a rocket that struck a residential building in Tripoli may have been aimed at a hotel used by government officials and foreign businessmen.

Libya, particularly Benghazi, has seen an increase in violence in the last few days, with explosions targeting the judiciary, assassinations, violent demonstrations and a mass jail break.

The spark for the latest unrest was the murder of Abdelsalam al-Mosmary, a prominent critic of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood who was gunned down as he left a mosque in Benghazi on Friday.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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