Tripoli: A gunbattle between youths allegedly competing for space in a market place and a car blast rocked the centre of the Libyan capital on Saturday, leaving one wounded, residents and security sources said.

"There was a fight between youths over market space," Mohammed, a young resident of Al-Rashid neighbourhood near Martyr's Square said.

"They were shooting at each other and throwing gelatin," an easily available TNT-based explosive used in fishing, said the resident, adding that the fighting took place at around dawn.

A car blast -- apparently caused by gelatin -- rocked the same area.

"The car, a Honda Civic, blew up to pieces," said a guard stationed at the military police base just metres (yards) from where the blast took place.

He said the blast could have been caused by "fishing explosives" that were either in or thrown at the car.

Senior officers at the same branch declined to comment on the explosion.

But a foreign security expert who evaluated the site of the blast confirmed to AFP that the explosion appeared to have been caused by TNT used in fishing.

 "The blast appears to have been caused by gelatin," he said, basing that assessment on the nature of the scorch marks and the absence of a crater.

He added that the blast did not appear to have been caused by a car bomb.

The shopping district bustled with activity in the morning after the car had been removed from the area.

Images diffused on social media showed the charred remains of a red vehicle.

Dark scorch marks stained the sides of buildings on the corner where most of the fighting and the blast took place.

The windows of several clothes shop in the area were pockmarked by bullet holes and shopkeepers grumbled at the damage done to their stores.

At least two vehicles parked on the commercial street had bullet holes.

And at least one person, a Tunisian, was wounded, witnesses said.


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