Libyan Interior Minister Fawzi Abdelali said on Tuesday he was withdrawing his resignation announced Sunday amid criticism over a surge of violence, including destructions of shrines.
“When I submitted my resignation, I thought I would be relieving many people. But it seems that my resignation will further complicate security and I have decided to withdraw it,” Abdelali told a news conference in Tripoli.
Abdelali had resigned after coming under fire for the performance of security forces during a surge of violence that has rocked Libya, including attacks by Islamist hardliners on shrines across the country.
The criticism has been led by the newly elected General National Congress, which on Sunday accused the interior ministry's High Security Committee of being lax or even implicated in the destruction of shrines, including those of the Sufi sect.
Islamist hardliners on Saturday bulldozed part of the mausoleum of Al-Shaab Al-Dahman, close to the center of the Libyan capital.
The demolition came a day after hardliners blew up the mausoleum of Sheikh Abdessalem al-Asmar in Zliten, 160 kilometers east of the capital.
According to witnesses another mausoleum, that of Sheikh Ahmed al-Zarruq, had been destroyed in the port of Misrata, 200 kilometers east of Tripoli.
Hardline Sunni Islamists are implacably opposed to the veneration of tombs of revered Muslim figures, saying that such devotion should be reserved for God alone.
The Sufi sect, which practices a mystical form of Islam and has played a historic role in the affairs of Libya, has increasingly found itself in conflict with Qatari- and Saudi-trained Salafist preachers who consider it heretical.
Prime Minister Abdelrahim al-Kib, meanwhile, defended the work of his government.
“The security organs have done their work effectively, they have foiled several plots and quickly arrested those responsible for acts of sabotage,” he told a meeting of the General National Congress, Libya's new authority.
Kib called on the congress to “quickly adopt laws criminalizing the carrying of weapons and attacking historical and religious monuments.”
Defense Minister Osama Juili told the congress that the main difficulty he faced was “the occupation of strategic military sites by groups of revolutionaries who refuse to join the department of defense.”
Dozens of protesters responded to calls on Internet social networks and took to the streets of the capital on Sunday to denounce the destruction of the mausoleums.