Libya: Benghazi blast rocks hotel used by rebels

Jalal il Gallal, National Transitional Council: "It was a cowardly act"

A huge explosion has blown up a car near a major hotel in the eastern Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

The blast happened outside the Tibesti, a hotel often used by rebel leaders and foreign visitors.

A rebel official said the explosion had been caused by a device thrown under a car. Witnesses said there were no deaths or injuries.

Benghazi is where the revolt against embattled Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi began in February.

A rebel spokesman, Jalal al-Gallal, called Wednesday's bombing a "cowardly act".

Several cars parked nearby were set on fire and a huge plume of smoke rose above the city.

A large crowd chanting anti-Gaddafi slogans appeared as rebel authorities tried to cordon off the area.

Libyan rebel TV initially reported a rebel officer had been killed, but a rebel official later said the man had died in a separate incident a day earlier.

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