Libya’s minister of interior survives assassination attempt: Report

Libya’s minister of interior survived an assassination attempt over the weekend. 

The ambush-style attack on Fathi Bashagha occurred on Sunday, the Associated Press reported.

What specifically led to what the Libyan government described as an “attempted assassination” remains unclear.

Libya’s interim government is calling for an investigation of the incident and for those responsible to be brought to justice.

What happened?

According to the AP, Bashagha was traveling in his motorcade on a highway in Tripoli when his convoy was ambushed by a group of gunmen in an armored vehicle.

The attackers reportedly opened fire on the motorcade and the minister’s bodyguards returned fire. One gunman was killed while two others were captured and detained.

Bashagha emerged unharmed from the situation, although at least one of his bodyguards was injured.

The background

At the time of the attack, Bashagha was returning to his home following a meeting with the head of Libya National Oil Corporation. The purpose of the meeting, according to the APwas “to discuss the security of oil facilities and how to strengthen the corporation’s independence to ‘ensure a fair distribution of wealth among all Libyans.'”

Whether the meeting was related to the assassination attempt is unclear. Nonetheless, there has been unrest in the country following the recent establishment of Libya’s new, UN-backed government.

The country has been in chaos ever since a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 took out Muammar Gaddafi, the country’s longtime dictator. Since then, the country has been divided into two governments that each have the backing of different militias and foreign powers, the AP reported.

This month, a United Nations-picked body consisting of Libyans from both the east and west governments appointed an interim government. This interim government, whose main goal is just to get the country through elections that are scheduled for December 24, consists of a prime minister and a three-member presidential council. According to the AP, the hope is that the elections will finally unite the country going forward.

Richard Norland, the U.S. Ambassador in Libya, condemned the attack. “Minister Bashaga’s focus on ending the influence of rogue militias has our full support,” Norland said, according to reports.

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