Unknown gunmen shot at Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid al Dbeibah’s car on Thursday but he escaped unharmed, a source close to him said, amid intense factional war of words over control of the government.
The incident happened as Dbeibah was returning home, describing it as a clear assassination attempt, but the attackers escaped and the incident has been referred for investigation.
An attempt to assassinate Dbeibah could worsen the crisis over control of Libya after he said he will ignore a vote scheduled by the eastern-based parliament later on Thursday to replace him.
Over the recent weeks, the military mobilised more troops and equipment in the capital, raising fears the political crisis could trigger fighting.
Dbeibah was installed in March as head of the U.N.-backed Government of National Unity (GNU) was meant to unify the country’s divided institutions and oversee the run-up to an election in December as part of a peace process.
Contending factions have been jostling for position after the election process fell apart amid disputes over the rules, including over the legitimacy of Dbeibah’s own candidacy for president after he pledged not to run.
The parliament, which mostly backed eastern forces during the civil war, has declared the GNU invalid and will hold a vote on Thursday to name a new prime minister to form another government.
Earlier this week, Dbeibah said that he would only hand over power after an election and the U.N.’s Libya adviser and Western countries have said they continue to recognise the GNU.
The parliament said this week that no elections would be held this year, after it and another political body amended the country’s temporary constitution, dismaying the many Libyans who had registered to vote.
The parliament’s move to choose a new prime minister may lead to a return to chaos and breakdown of law.
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