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Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha said that he survived a “well-planned” assassination attempt, on Sunday, during which gunmen opened fire on his cars in the capital, Tripoli, despite the doubts of an armed force, whose members were said to have been a party to this, in his account.
Bashaga added to «Reuters» that a car began to attack his convoy, and people inside the car opened fire, which led to an exchange of fire in which one of his bodyguards and one of the attackers were killed.
He said that it was not an accident that happened by chance but rather a well-planned operation, adding 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 Agency stated that Bashaga’s guards opened fire on one of the cars while it was passing by his convoy.
The Stability Support Authority is an armed force established this year by outgoing Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
For his part, UN envoy Jan Kubis condemned the incident, called for an investigation, and said on Twitter that “such reckless actions threaten stability and security, and aim to disrupt the political process.”
The attack comes as the reconciliation government prepares to make room for a new transitional government that has been chosen through a UN-led process aimed at uniting Libya’s warring factions.
Bashaga is a leading figure from the city of Misurata in western Libya, and he ran for the presidency of the unity government without success in this endeavor, but he publicly expressed his support for the new administration.
Bashaga, as Minister of Interior, had pledged to rein in the armed groups that have held power on the ground in western Libya since the 2011 uprising, and which 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, and more gunfire was heard in the city center late on Sunday evening.
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