This content was published on February 22, 2021 – Jul 01, 32,
TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha said he survived a “well-planned” assassination attempt on Sunday in which gunmen shot his cars in the capital, Tripoli, despite doubts by an armed force who said its members were part of it in his account.
Bashagha told Reuters that a car started to encroach on his convoy and people inside the car opened fire, which led to an exchange of fire in which one of his guards and one of the attackers were killed.
It was not an accident, he said, but a well-planned operation.
He added that his guards chased the car that overturned, saying that they had arrested two people, one of whom was wanted by the police.
In a statement posted on the Internet, the Stability Support Service said that Bashagha’s guards opened fire on one of his cars as it was passing by his convoy.
The Stability Support Authority is an armed force created this year by the outgoing Prime Minister, Fayez Al-Sarraj.
UN envoy Jan Kubis condemned the incident and called for an investigation. He said on Twitter that “such reckless actions threaten stability and security and aim to disrupt the political process.”
The attack comes as the internationally recognized Government of National Accord prepares to make room for a new transitional government chosen through a UN-led process aimed at uniting Libya’s warring factions.
Bashagha is a leading figure from the city of Misurata in western Libya. He ran to head the unity government without succeeding in this endeavor, but he publicly expressed his support for the new administration.
Bashagha had pledged as Minister of Interior to rein in the armed groups that have held the reins of power on the ground in western Libya since the 2011 uprising and often have official status within the ministries of defense and interior.
The past few weeks have witnessed a relative calm, but heavy gunfire could be heard from central Tripoli at night between Saturday and Sunday. More gunfire was heard in the city center late on Sunday evening.
Richard Norland, the US ambassador to Libya, condemned the incident in a statement, saying that “Bashaga’s focus on ending the influence of rogue militias has our full support.”
(Prepared by Ali Khafaji and Ahmed Subhi for the Arabic Newsletter)
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