Reuters International

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - At least 20 civilians were killed on Tuesday in an explosion at an ammunition store in the western Libyan town of Garabulli, a municipal official said.

Mohamed Assayed said the store was under control of an armed group from the city of Misrata, but the group had left their camp after clashing with local residents.

The explosion happened as residents entered the camp, though it was not immediately clear what had triggered the blast.

"The number of casualties is rising and we are working hard to transfer them to nearest hospitals," Assayed said. Some 30 people had been wounded, he said.

A Garabulli resident, who also confirmed the deaths, said the clashes had erupted following a dispute in a shop between locals and a member of the armed group who was refusing to pay.

Following the clashes, some locals protested by blocking the main coastal road between Misrata and Tripoli, Assayed and the resident said. Garabulli is about 50 km (30 miles) east of Tripoli and 140 km west of Misrata.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by John Stonestreet)

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