Libya’s Interim Prime Minister Escapes Assassination Attempt

A Libya’s interim prime minister has survived an assassination attempt overnight, a report claimed early on Thursday though no official statement has been issued.

Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah was returning home when the incident occurred, with the report describing it as a clear assassination attempt. It added that the attackers had fled and the incident had been reported for investigation.

The bullet penetrated the windscreen of the prime minister’s car, but he and his driver were unharmed. A light weapon, probably a Kalashnikov, was said to have been used by the attackers.

While factional fighting has intensified over control of the government, Dbeibah has pledged to fight efforts by his opponents to oust him.

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Since the NATO-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has had little peace or stability. The country split in 2014 between warring factions in the east and the west.

Dbeibah, a prominent businessman from Misrata, became the head of the United Nations-backed Government of National Unity (GNU) in March, with elections slated for December 24. Despite being given the caretaker role on the condition that he not run for election, he declared himself a candidate in November, an act that others criticized as unfair.

A dispute between rival factions over laws governing the election led to the cancellation of the vote, and the parliament, which mostly supported eastern forces during the war, declared the GNU invalid.

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The apparent assassination attempt on Dbeibah was a “huge setback” for Libya’s reputation as a safe haven for foreign diplomats and government officials.

With the security forces unable to ensure the safety of the prime minister, people might start to doubt the ability of Libya’s security services to protect senior officials.

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