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Two police stations targeted in Libya's Benghazi

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Two police stations were targeted in what appeared to be simultaneous attacks in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Monday, a police source said, while the chief of police in Derna survived an attack on his car.

An explosive device was thrown at an empty car parked in front of Gharyounes police station in western Benghazi early on Monday, the source said. A loud explosion was heard in the area, according to a Reuters reporter nearby.

An explosive device was also thrown in front of another police station in the east of the city, damaging a front wall.

"The attacks appear to be simultaneous. There are no injuries," the source said.

Separately, Colonel Mufid al-Misoury, chief of police in Derna, said a car in which he was traveling was fired at by unknown gunmen.

He was on his way to the police headquarters in the eastern city, known as an Islamist stronghold, after it was targeted in a small blast. The building sustained little damage, he said.

"A car passed us very quickly and then gunfire came from that direction. Luckily no one was injured even though the car was heavily hit with bullets," he told Reuters by telephone.

Libya's new rulers have struggled to impose their authority on a myriad of armed groups, who helped oust dictator Muammar Gaddafi last year but have yet to lay down their arms.

The anti-Gaddafi uprising started in Benghazi but Libya's second city is now a hot spot for violence.

On Sunday, unknown assailants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a Benghazi police compound that houses patrol cars, damaging an office and killing one policeman. A gun battle followed and three of the police reinforcements who arrived at the scene were killed, a police spokesman said.

That attack is believed to be linked to the recent detention of two men in connection with several assassinations of security officials in the city, as the assault happened next door to a police station where they were being held.

In September, the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, the worst of a string of attacks on international convoys and official buildings in the city.

(Reporting by Ghaith Shennib; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Jackie Frank and Philip Barbara)

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