BEIRUT

Middle East

Official: Libyan TV national station assaulted

  • Men look at the wreckage of a car which was set on fire by protesters in front of the General National Congress (GNC), a day after protesters stormed into the building in Tripoli March 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny)

TRIPOLI, Libya: Gunmen launched an attack on Libya's official television station on Tuesday, firing shoulder-propelled grenades at the troops guarding it before they were driven off by reinforcements, officials said. There were no reports of casualties.

The officials said the attackers were likely the followers of militia leader Jumaa al-Shahm, who had controlled the Libya TV station building in the capital Tripoli for months before being ousted by government forces last week. Al-Shahm was arrested.

Three years after the ouster and slaying of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Libya's central government still has little authority. The military and police are in disarray, outmanned and outgunned by rival militias who frequently take over state facilities.

Station employees had sought help from government security forces, a statement in the name of Libya TV workers said.

The officials said Al-Shahm's followers had also stormed the Information Ministry demanding salaries and support for the station.

Also on Tuesday, a well-known air force colonel was found shot dead hours after he went missing in the country's east, another security official said.

The official said the body of Col. Adam Faraj al-Abdali was discovered early Tuesday with shots to his head and chest inside his car near a cemetery in Benghazi. He said the colonel had gone missing hours earlier and was unreachable.

Col. Al-Abdali, in his fifties, had pioneered the use of Russian jets in Libya. The official spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

Benghazi is a stronghold of militias with roots in the rebel brigades that fought Gadhafi. It has witnessed a series of attacks targeting officials, judges, activists and clerics. Rarely anyone is apprehended.

 
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Summary

Gunmen launched an attack on Libya's official television station on Tuesday, firing shoulder-propelled grenades at the troops guarding it before they were driven off by reinforcements, officials said.

The officials said the attackers were likely the followers of militia leader Jumaa al-Shahm, who had controlled the Libya TV station building in the capital Tripoli for months before being ousted by government forces last week.

On Tuesday, a well-known air force colonel was found shot dead hours after he went missing in the country's east, another security official said.


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