Explosions at a military weapons depot outside the rebel-controlled city of Benghazi in eastern Libya have killed nineteen people and wounded more than two dozen.

Ambulances scurried to carry the wounded to Al-Jala hospital and Houari hospital, while flames lighted up the night sky. There were reports of chaos and screaming at the hospitals. Some of the wounded were reportedly horrifically disfigured and burned.

According to various reports, the cause behind the explosion was unknown – however, it is generally agreed that it wasn’t the result of an air strike by forces backed by Moammar Gaddafi.

Mustafa Gheriani, a spokesman for the rebels' national council set said he suspected sabotage behind the blasts.

A witness told Agence France Presse (AFP) that rebels –who are gradually consolidating their control over eastern Libya – arrived at the military base, requesting weapons to take to the oil town of Ras Lanuf, which rebels later claimed to have wrested away for Gaddafi supporters/.

Two cars rode up with people at the place and said they wanted weapons to take to Raslanuf,” he told AFP.

“They entered the store and just after they left Rajma [military base], there was the first explosion, followed five minutes later by another. The first explosion was mild and the second big.”