|[Published: Monday February 22 2021]
Libya's interior minister survives assassination attempt
TRIPOLI, 22 Feb. - (ANA) - Libya's interior minister survived unscathed Sunday an attack by gunmen on his motorcade, according to sources from his office.
The gunmen fired on Fathi Bashagha's convoy as he drove across the capital of Tripoli Sunday following a visit to the National Oil Corporation.
A statement from the ministry said Bashagha survived an "assassination attempt as he returned from his residence in Janzur."
Speaking with Reuters, Bashagha said a vehicle encroached on his convoy before opening fire.
"It is not an incident that came by chance, but was well-planned," Bashagha told Reuters.
Two of the assailants were arrested and a third was killed in a confrontation with Bashagha's guards. Bashagha's office said the minister was unharmed, but at least one of his guards was wounded.
The attack comes weeks after Libya agreed to an internationally recognized transitional government tasked with guiding the country to national elections later this year.
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Bashagha, who has served as interior minister for the Government of National Accord (GNA) since 2018, has in recent months stepped up efforts to absorb armed groups across the country into national security forces.
Libya fell into internal armed conflict after the ousting and assassination of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi in October 2011. The country has gone through cycles of violence, including having land and oil fields seized by terrorist groups, and the latest escalation, which began in April 2019, when Haftar's LNA moved on Tripoli.
The United Nations' special envoy for Libya, Jan Kubis, condemned the attack and expressed concern over what he called a "serious security incident."
"Such reckless acts pose threats to stability and security and aim at derailing the political process," Kubis said in a statement posted on Twitter.
In October, a cease-fire was signed between the two main parties â€” the Tripoli-based GNA and the forces of General Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA).
A British businesswoman and two former Royal Marines have been accused of involvement in a failed plot to support the Libyan warlord Marshal Khalifa Haftar and kidnap or kill his opponents.
The Times says Project Opus provided Haftar’s rebels with military helicopters, boats and mercenaries to support an offensive on the internationally recognised government in Tripoli. Amanda Perry, a businesswoman in Dubai, is accused of breaking an arms embargo. - (ANA) -
AB/ANA/22 February 2021 - - -