(Adds another explosion, government statement, details)
By Ayman al-Warfalli
BENGHAZI, Libya, March 17 A powerful car bomb
attack targeted a military academy in Libya's eastern of city of
Benghazi on Monday, killing at least eight people and wounding
more than a dozen, hospital and security officials said.
Instability in the eastern city is part of the struggle a
weak central government faces in controlling armed groups,
militias and brigades of former rebels who once battled Muammar
Gaddafi and now refuse to disarm.
A first bomb exploded at the front gate of the academy as
soldiers were leaving a graduation ceremony, security officials
said. Several cars parked outside exploded. One or two other
bombs exploded around the same time, wounding at least 13, a
security official said.
In a separate explosion hours later in Benghazi, one person
was killed when another car bomb went off near the state oil
firm Brega Petroleum Marketing Co, which sells fuel products
inside Libya, a security source said.
No group claimed responsibility for the bombings in
Benghazi, where Libyan armed forces have been battling militants
from hardline Islamist groups such as Ansar al Sharia, listed as
a foreign terrorist organisation by Washington.
The government called the academy bombing a "terrorist act"
and declared three days of mourning, according to a statement.
Most countries have closed their consulates in Benghazi and
some foreign airlines have stopped flying there since the U.S.
ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an Islamist
militant attack in September 2012.
Unknown gunmen killed a French citizen earlier this month,
while police found seven Egyptian Christians shot dead
execution-style on a beach outside Benghazi, home to several oil
firms. No one has claimed responsibility for that killing.
An American schoolteacher was also killed by gunmen in
December. Western diplomats are concerned the violence in
Benghazi will spill over to the capital, Tripoli.
(Reporting by Feras Bosalum and Ayman Al-Warfallim; Editing by