New York Daily News

Libya of­fi­cial es­capes gun as­sault

- Crime · Terrorism · Middle East News · Incidents · Politics · Libya · United Nations · Tripoli · Twitter · Philadelphia Union · United States of America · Norland, FL · NATO · Muammar al-Gaddafi · Council · Abdul Hamid

The mo­tor­cade of the in­te­rior min­is­ter of Libya’s UN-backed gov­ern­ment came un­der at­tack on Sun­day in the cap­i­tal, Tripoli, of­fi­cials said.

Armed men opened fire at Fathi Bashagha’s mo­tor­cade on a high­way in Tripoli, wound­ing at least one of his guards, said Amin al-Hashmi, a spokesman for the Tripoli-based Health Min­istry.

He said the min­is­ter sur­vived the at­tack and his guards chased the as­sailants, killing one and de­tain­ing two oth­ers.

The In­te­rior Min­istry said in a state­ment that Bashagha (photo) was was re­turn­ing to his res­i­dence in the Jan­zour neigh­bor­hood when men in an ar­mored ve­hi­cle opened fire on his con­voy.

The state­ment called the at­tack an “at­tempted as­sas­si­na­tion” of the min­is­ter.

Ear­lier Sun­day, Bashagha met with Mustafa Sanalla, head of Libya’s Na­tional Oil Corp. to dis­cuss the se­cu­rity of oil fa­cil­i­ties and how to strengthen the cor­po­ra­tion’s in­de­pen­dence to “en­sure a fair distri­bu­tion of wealth among all Libyans.” He posted a photo for both of them on his Twit­ter ac­count, call­ing their meet­ing “fruit­ful.”

No group claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack, which un­der­scores the in­se­cu­rity in the North African county.

The U.S. am­bas­sador in Libya, Richard Nor­land, con­demned the at­tack and called for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to hold those re­spon­si­ble ac­count­able.

“Min­is­ter Bashaga’s fo­cus on end­ing the in­flu­ence of rogue mili­tias has our full sup­port,” Nor­land said.

Oil-rich Libya was plunged into chaos after a 2011 NATO-backed up­ris­ing top­pled and killed long­time dic­ta­tor Moam­mar Khadafy. The coun­try has been di­vided be­tween two gov­ern­ments, one in the east and an­other in the west, each backed by an ar­ray of mili­tias as well as for­eign pow­ers.

Ear­lier this month, an UN­picked fo­rum com­pris­ing Libyans from both sides ap­pointed an in­terim gov­ern­ment — a three-mem­ber Pres­i­den­tial Coun­cil and a prime min­is­ter — to lead the coun­try through elec­tions, sched­uled for Dec. 24.

Bashagha was a con­tender for prime min­is­ter, and Ab­dul Hamid Mo­hammed Dbeibah was cho­sen to lead the tran­si­tional cabi­net.

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