BEIRUT

Middle East

Libya minister unharmed in assassination attempt: report

Soldiers from the Libyan army man a checkpoint in the capital Tripoli on January 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD TURKIA

TRIPOLI: Libya's interior minister escaped unscathed from an assassination attempt in Tripoli on Wednesday, the official LANA news agency reported.

Seddik Abdelkarim, who is also deputy prime minister, was in his car when "unknown gunmen fired a barrage of bullets" at the vehicle, the agency said, adding nobody was killed or wounded in the attack.

Libya has grappled with widespread unrest since rebels overthrew and killed long-ruling dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

Wednesday's attack was confirmed by Al-Bahlul al-Sid, the head of the minister's office, who did not provide further details. The office later said Abdelkarim would give a news conference in the coming hours.

The minister was on his way to parliament when his car was fired upon, LANA reported.

The attack came less than three weeks after the assassination of deputy industry minister Hassan al-Droui, who was shot in Kadhafi's hometown of Sirte on January 12.

The uprising left Libya awash in weapons looted from Kadhafi's vast arsenals, complicating the government's efforts to rein in former rebels who effectively control much of the country.

Libya has seen near-daily attacks on security forces, particularly in and around the eastern city of Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 revolt.

In Tripoli, meanwhile, independent Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has faced criticism from Islamist MPs demanding his resignation, accusing him of failing to improve security.

The Justice and Construction Party, the political arm of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood, has failed to muster the 120 votes in the 194-member General National Congress needed to censure the premier, but the wrangling is seen as further undermining his authority.

Zeidan was himself kidnapped by gunmen and held for several hours in October.

Since the outbreak of the uprising four people have served as interior minister, with the previous two having resigned.

 

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Summary

Libya's interior minister escaped unscathed from an assassination attempt in Tripoli on Wednesday, the official LANA news agency reported.

Wednesday's attack was confirmed by Al-Bahlul al-Sid, the head of the minister's office, who did not provide further details.

The Justice and Construction Party, the political arm of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood, has failed to muster the 120 votes in the 194-member General National Congress needed to censure the premier, but the wrangling is seen as further undermining his authority.


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