Middle East

Iraq summons Libyan ambassador over professor's killing

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari delivers on June 25, 2013 a speech before the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

BAGHDAD: Baghdad has summoned Libya's ambassador to Iraq to protest the killing of an Iraqi professor by jihadists in the North African country, the foreign ministry said late on Thursday.

A man who the SITE monitoring service, an intelligence group, said was Iraqi professor Khalaf Hassan al-Sa'idi was shown being killed by gunshot in a video uploaded on YouTube this week.

In the video, which has since been removed from YouTube, he identifies himself as Shi'ite Muslim. His captors say on the video that he is being killed in sectarian revenge for the execution of a Sunni in Iraq by the Shi'ite-led government.

The video's authenticity could not be independently confirmed.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs ... summoned the Libyan ambassador in Baghdad on the subject and strongly condemns this terrorist act abroad which is far removed from humanity and Islamic norms," the statement said.

It said Baghdad did not believe that the killing, which took place in Libya's eastern port city of Derna, reflected the position of the Libyan government or people.

Iraq has asked Tripoli to track down the professor's killers and prosecute people "who are trying to disturb the friendly relations between the two brotherly countries", the statement said.

Since Muammar Gaddafi's fall, Islamist militants, including groups linked to Sunni Muslim al Qaeda, have used Libya as a base for fighters and to smuggle out weapons.

North Africa is home to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other Islamist affiliates who either cooperate with the network or sympathise with its ideology.

Iraq is struggling with al Qaeda-linked insurgents who have claimed hundreds of bomb attacks since the start of the year. Fighters linked to the group are operating on both sides of Iraq's border with Syria, according to Baghdad.





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