Benghazi Hit by Blast on Anniversary of Attack on U.S. Consulate

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Benghazi blast

(CNN) — A powerful blast on the main street in the Libyan city of Benghazi early Wednesday damaged a foreign ministry building and a branch of the Central Bank of Libya, an eyewitness said.

The explosion comes on the anniversary of the September 11, 2012, assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Eyewitness and Benghazi resident Sami Berriwen told CNN he saw no casualties as a result of the blast in the eastern city, which occurred at about 7 a.m. (1 a.m. ET.)

Berriwen, a university student, said that if the blast had happened just an hour later, the street would have been full of people. He said most Benghazi residents walk this street to get to school and to work, but because of the early hour, no one was out yet.

Berriwan said he did not see what caused the blast. He saw a fire truck but no ambulances on the scene.

Diplomatic missions and security officials have repeatedly been the target of attacks in Benghazi, leading most Westerners to leave.

In January, gunmen targeted the car of the Italian consul general in Benghazi, but no one was injured. Bomb attacks also occurred last year on a U.N. convoy, as well as a convoy carrying the British ambassador. In November, unknown gunmen assassinated the city’s temporary security director.

Other towns and cities, including the capital, Tripoli, have also seen frequent attacks.