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Head of Libya’s GNC escapes assassination attempt

Published:

An assassination attempt targeted the Head of Libya’s General National Conference Mohamed Magarief on Saturday during his visit to the southern city of Sabha.

Magarief told the Libyan state television that gunmen attacked the hotel he was residing at by heavy gun-fire. An ongoing battle between Magarief's personal bodyguards and the gunmen lasted for three hours and left three of his guards wounded.

Investigation procedure is taking place but no results are found yet because of the tribal culture of that region, he said.

Meanwhile, a Muammar Qaddafi-era security official has been killed in Libya’s second city Benghazi, local officials said Saturday.

“Lieutenant-Colonel Nasser al-Magrabi was found dead on his farm last night,” an official in Benghazi’s criminal investigations department told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“He was shot,” the official said.

Another official said the corpse was found “in a farm in the Sidi Faraj area” and that “investigations are now underway”.

Both sources said Magrabi had worked for the former regime’s reviled internal security services in Benghazi during the era of slain dictator Kadhafi, who was unseated by an uprising in 2011.

The killing comes a day after the head of Benghazi’s criminal investigations department, Abdelsalam al-Mahdawi, was kidnapped at gunpoint. His whereabouts remain unknown.

The number of attacks against military and police officers -- including security officials who served under the former regime -- has increased lately in Benghazi, the cradle of the Libyan revolt.

Few officials are willing to speak on the record about the motives behind the violence, but some incidents have been blamed on hardline Islamists carrying out revenge attacks against officials who served under Kadhafi.

The slain leader’s security services played a major role in the repression and imprisonment of thousands of political dissidents and Islamists during his rule.

The Mediterranean city has also emerged as a hub for jihadist groups, including militants who killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in an attack on the U.S. consulate there on September 11 last year.