Gaddafi-era officer injured in blast

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iol pic afr Benghazi car bomb REUTERS A policeman looks at the car of police officer Husam Alraeid, who was injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) under the seat of his car exploded in Benghazi.

Benghazi, Libya -

A car bomb exploded in Libya's second city of Benghazi on Wednesday, wounding an officer who had served in the regime of slain leader Muammar Gaddafi, a local security official told AFP.

Hussam al-Raaid, a former officer of the toppled regime's reviled internal security services, was wounded when his booby-trapped vehicle exploded outside his house, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The blast shredded the driver's seat, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

The explosion, the second to rock Benghazi in as many days, comes during a sensitive transition period with the government of prime minister-designate Ali Zeidan due to be sworn in next week.

Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 rebellion against Gaddafi, has endured a spike of violence in recent months, including a September 11 attack on the US mission there that killed four Americans, including ambassador Chris Stevens.

The city has also witnessed a relentless wave of assassinations, targeting officials with links to the former regime, which are often blamed on hardline Islamists. The country's nascent army and police have also become a target.

On Tuesday, the bullet-ridden corpse of a retired colonel was discovered in his farm. Hours later a car exploded near a police station in Benghazi, triggering a gunfight that left two policemen wounded.

Libya successfully held its first elections in July, following 42 years of dictatorship, but the new authorities are hard pressed to provide security in the face of widespread arms and weak security forces. - Sapa-AFP


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