At least 65 killed in bomb attack on Libya police training center

Libyans gather at the site of a suicide truck bombing on a police school in Libya's coastal city of Zliten on January 7, 2016. © Mahmud Turkia
A truck rigged with explosives crashed into a police training camp in Zliten, Libya, on Thursday, killing dozens and injuring up to 200, according to various sources.

At least 65 people were killed, Reuters reported citing hospital sources. Civilians were among the casualties who were transferred to a hospital in nearby Misrata, witnesses told Reuters.

At least 60 policemen were killed and as many as 200 others wounded in the massive blast, AP reported citing officials. Rescue crews at the scene managed to extract 60 bodies from the wreckage, a hospital spokesman Moamar Kaddi said. Libyan officials said they believed there might be dozens more dead.

Some 70 wounded were treated at the Zliten hospital, Kaddi told AFP, adding: "We don't have a clear idea of the total toll, other victims were taken to hospitals in Misrata and Tripoli."

The explosion at the Libyan Interior Ministry training camp occurred at 8:00am local time. A truck drove through the gates of the facility as hundreds of cadets were gathering for a graduation ceremony. Reportedly, the camp training coast guards accommodates up to 400 trainees.

The vehicle, used for carrying water, had been laden with explosives that were detonated by a suicide bomber, a local security source told AFP.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the apparent terror attack.

The port of Zliten is about 160 kilometers to the east of the capital Tripoli.

Misrata Central Hospital has called on all citizens to donate blood to save the lives of those injured in the bombing.

The Accident and Emergency Department of the Central Hospital reports that 50 of the injured have been brought to hospital so far.

The head of the hospital's emergency department said the injuries of those admitted range from moderate to very serious, adding that four of the hospitalized have died.

The Libyan Ministry of Health of the Government of National Salvation has announced a state of emergency due to the current situation in Zliten.

The ministry demanded that hospitals receiving the injured provide all possible medical services, and coordinate activities with the ministry’s central operations room.

Escalation of violence in Libya continues, as two rival governments and parliaments continue to compete for dominance, making it possible for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants to make gains in the country.

More than 5,000 IS extremists are active in Libya, according to the national Interior Ministry.

IS has seized several profitable oil fields in Libya and is eager to win more control over the country, as the land could provide them with millions of dollars to fund terror attacks.

The terrorist network is now targeting the Marsa al Brega oil refinery, the biggest in North Africa.

If jihadists successfully capture the oil refinery, located between Sirte and Benghazi, they would gain full control of the country’s oil.

The attack on the law enforcement training facility in Zliten, a coastal town between the capital Tripoli and the port of Misrata, has become one of the deadliest since Islamists launched their terror campaign in conflict-torn Libya.

Libya has been in the throes of a chaotic civil war since the 2011 ousting and death of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.