Libyan commander survives assassination attempt in Benghazi-official


A Libyan security official on Saturday survived an assassination attempt by members of an Islamist militia in the volatile eastern city of Benghazi, a security spokesman said.

Gunmen opened fire on the car of Abdullah al-Saiti, commander of the city’s security operations centre, while he was travelling in central Benghazi, said Ibrahim al-Shara, a security spokesman.

Saiti escaped unhurt, he said. The security operations centre is the top command of government security forces and militias allied to the government in the eastern city.

On Friday the government accused Islamist militants of the Ansar al-Sharia group of killing nine special forces soldiers during an attack on the city’s security headquarters.

Libya’s weak central government is struggling to control armed groups, militias and brigades of former rebels who helped oust long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in the 2011 civil war and who now refuse to disarm.

Car bombings and assassinations of soldiers and police officers have become common in Benghazi, where a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed minibus outside a special forces camp on Tuesday, killing two people.

Most countries have closed their consulates in the city and some foreign airlines have stopped flying to the city since the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an Islamist militant attack in September 2012.