Libyan lawmakers kidnapped as gunmen storm parliament

Heavy gunfire from anti-aircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenades could be heard near the parliament in Libya's capital, residents said.

Libyan lawmakers kidnapped as gunmen storm parliament

World Bulletin/News Desk

Four Libyan militiamen were killed on Sunday while attempting to storm a government building in Tripoli on the same day their group kidnapped several lawmakers, a security official said.

Lawmaker Omar Bushah told Reuters gunmen had entered the General National Congress (GNC) and set the building on fire.

State news agency LANA said unidentified gunmen had closed the streets leading to parliament. Gunfire rang out through several parts of Tripoli.

"The army forces and revolutionaries thwarted the attempt to storm the parliament building and adjacent state buildings by Al-Qaaqaa and al-Sawaaq militias," Khaled al-Sharif, the defense ministry undersecretary, told Anadolu Agency.

Al-Sharif said that parliament speaker Nouri Abusahmain was not among those kidnapped, reaffirming that he is "safe and in good health."

According to the eyewitnesses, Al-Qaaqaa and al-Sawaaq militiamen tried to break into the parliament's buildings, but the "deterrent force" affiliated with the Interior Ministry thwarted the attempt.

Al-Qaqaa and al-Sawaaq are two of the biggest and best equipped armed groups established following the ouster of long-serving strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

BENGHAZI CLASHES

The gunfire in Tripoli broke out after more than 70 people were killed on Friday in clashes between irregular army forces and militants in Benghazi, the main city in the volatile east.

Tripoli has been spared the sort of violence seen in Benghazi, but more than 40 people were killed in November during clashes between militias and armed citizens.

Libya, a major oil producer, badly needs a government to try to impose some authority on a country effectively ruled by the militias who helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in the 2011 revolt but now defy the state.

In March, the General National Congress (GNC) assembly ousted the then prime minister Ali Zeidan over his handling of a crisis in which rebels in the eastern city of Benghazi attemped to sell oil bypassing Tripoli.

Zeidan's successor, Abdullah al-Thinni, resigned last month because of an attack by gunmen on his family.

Ahmed Maiteeq, a hotel entrepreneur, emerged as the new premier in a vote earlier this month that was disputed by lawmakers who say he failed to obtain the necessary quorum.

Maiteeq submitted his cabinet list to the GNC on Sunday, his media office said, without disclosing names of ministers. Parliament would hold a confidence vote over the new lineup within three days, officials said.

INTEL OFFICER FOUND DEAD

The body of a senior Libyan intelligence officer who went missing two weeks earlier was found in an empty parcel of land in the eastern city of Benghazi, a security source said Sunday.

Deputy chief of military intelligence in eastern Libya Hamza al-Mahmoudi went missing following clashes between army and police troops and militants in Benghazi in early May, the source, who asked not to be named, told Anadolu Agency.

His body was found with multiple gunshot wounds, including one in the head, and his throat cut, the official said.

Al-Mahmoudi's body was found two weeks after Ibrahim Senoussi, head of intelligence in Libya's eastern region, was gunned down as he drove his car through Benghazi.

The volatile city has recently seen a spate of attacks on army and police personnel amid deteriorating security conditions nationwide.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Mayıs 2014, 09:33
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