TRIPOLI, LIBYA: Gunmen shot dead two policemen in Libya’s second city and a state attorney was killed when a bomb blew up his car in an Islamist militant stronghold on Saturday, the latest violence to hit the country’s restive east, security officials said.
Assassinations of public figures and security officials are frequent in Libya. Many killings are blamed on militias, which the government is struggling to control even as it continues to rely on many of them to impose order.
A security official in the city of Darna, known for its hard-liners, said a bomb struck a car carrying public attorney Mohammed Khalifa al-Naas. Meanwhile, unknown gunmen fired at a security patrol in a commercial area in Benghazi, Libya’s second city, leaving two policemen dead, another security official said.
Also, the death toll from clashes between rival militias in the capital overnight Thursday triggered by the death of a militia commander from the city of Misrata rose to four, said Hashim Bishr, commander of Tripoli’s security committee. The fighting in Tripoli caused panic, with residents running for cover, some abandoning their cars in the streets.
The shootout in Tripoli’s streets drew condemnation from officials as well as the country’s top cleric, Mufti al-Sadiq al-Ghiryani.
“Libya is going down a dangerous slippery road,” al-Ghiryani said late Friday, blaming the government for taking little action to stem the violence.
On Saturday, the local council for Tripoli also blamed the government, calling on it to identify the militias that work with the government, and to outlaw all others.
The local council for Misrata, for its part, said it would not allow armed men from the city to go outside its boundaries. The council had issued instructions that no weapons are to leave the city gates.