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Gunmen surround Libyan ministry in protest at Qaddafi-era officials

Published: Updated:

Gunmen surrounded Libya's foreign ministry on Sunday to push demands that officials who had worked for deposed leader Muammar Qaddafi's government be banned from senior positions in the new administration.

At least 20 pick-up trucks loaded with anti-aircraft guns blocked the roads while men armed with AK-47s and sniper rifles directed the traffic away from the building, witnesses told Reuters.

Foreign ministry employees were denied entry by the gunmen, an Al Arabiya correspondent reported.

Security remains precarious in post-war Libya, a country awash with weapons and where militias often do as they please.

Last week, a car bomb targeted the French embassy in the Libyan capital, wounding two French guards and bringing violence to the capital after attacks on foreign missions in the east.

“There was an attack on the embassy. We think it was a booby trapped car,” Reuters quoted an official as saying. “There was a lot of damage and there are two guards wounded.”

The wall surrounding the property was destroyed and the embassy building badly damaged, AFP reported, adding two cars parked near the embassy were also destroyed.

“In liaison with the Libyan authorities, the services of the state will do everything to establish the circumstances of this odious act and rapidly identify the perpetrators,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement.