At least 47 people were killed on Thursday when Libya’s worst bomb attack since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi hit a police training center as hundreds of recruits gathered for a morning meeting.

No group immediately claimed the attack in the town of Zliten, but suicide blasts and car bombings have increased in Libya as Islamist militants have taken advantage of the North African country’s chaos to expand their presence.

Mayor Miftah Hamadi said the bomb detonated as around 400 recruits were gathering in the early morning at the police center in Zliten, a coastal town between the capital Tripoli and the port of Misrata.

“It was horrific, the explosion was so loud it was heard from miles away,” Hamadi told Reuters by telephone, his voice choked with emotion. “All the victims were young, and all about to start their lives.”

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