Blast in Benghazi On First Anniversary of Consulate Bombing and Twelfth Anniversary of 9/11
An already somber day was made even more tense when a car bomb exploded outside the Foreign Ministry building in Benghazi, Libya on Wednesday.
No serious injuries were reported, but the blast comes one year after an attack on the Benghazi consulate left four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, dead. Both attacks in Benghazi occurred as the U.S. spends September 11 remembering the lives lost during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that killed thousands in 2001.
According to reports by CNN, the blast was powerful enough to destroy large portions of the Ministry's exterior, as well as the car that was carrying the bomb, suggesting that the car was carrying a very large quantity of explosives. The Central Bank of Libya was also damaged, and one if its security guards suffered a minor injury.
The bomb exploded around 7 a.m. in Benghazi, about an hour before local residents hit the streets. According to local residents, the street where the blast occurred is a busy and popular location.
Including last year's attack on the U.S. Consulate, diplomatic missions and security officials have long been a high level target in Libya. In the recent years, bomb attacks were targeted at a U.N. convoy in the area and a convoy carrying the British Ambassador. In January, gunmen attacked the Italian consul in Benghazi and in November, the city's temporary security director was assassinated.
In preparation for the September 11 dual anniversary, U.S. Marines were moved closer to Libya. According to CNN reports, about 250 Marines were moved from a base in Spain to a closer location in Italy in case disaster struck.