A fuel tanker lorry caught fire and exploded in central Libya on Monday, killing at least nine people and injuring 76, authorities said.
The incident occurred in the town of Bent Bayya, according to the Health Ministry in Tripoli.
The ministry did not say how many were killed by the explosion, but Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush said earlier on Twitter that at least five people had been killed.
Pictures posted on the internet by local residents showed a charred lorry and several other hulks on both sides of the road in the Ezwaiya area of Bent Bayya.
Three medical sources told AFP that five burnt bodies were found, either inside or near vehicles, and said that the death toll was expected to rise because there were serious injuries to other victims.
It was not clear if the driver of the vehicle was among the victims.
“The truck was involved in a traffic accident and overturned,” a security source told AFP.
The state-run Libyan News agency said the tanker overturned before catching fire and exploding.
The agency said residents in the area rushed to collect leaked gasoline despite warnings of possible fire and explosion, causing the high casualty toll. Such incidents occasionally happen in impoverished areas where safety measures are regularly neglected.
The agency put the death toll at seven, citing an unnamed security official, AP reported.
The state-run medical centre in the nearby city of Sebha received at least 50 injured, hospital spokeswoman Halima Al Mahri said.
From there, at least 16 critically injured people were moved to hospitals in the capital, Tripoli, and the eastern city of Benghazi.
The centre posted photos, including graphic images, of people at an emergency ward receiving treatment for burns.