Four more Egyptian embassy staff
kidnapped in Libya
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[January 25, 2014]
By Ghaith Shennib
TRIPOLI (Reuters) — Four Egyptian embassy
staff were kidnapped in Libya's capital Tripoli on Saturday, a day after
another Egyptian diplomat was seized there by gunmen, the Libyan
government said, underlining persistent disorder two years after Muammar
No group claimed responsibility for any of the abductions, but
they came soon after one militia group reported that its leader had
been arrested in Egypt and had warned of a response.
"Four more have been kidnapped. One of them is the cultural attache
and the other three are staff," the Libyan Foreign Ministry
spokesman said, without going into further details.
The Egyptian government on Saturday confirmed the four had been
abducted and said it was working with Libyan authorities to secure
Two years after Gaddafi's overthrow, Libya remains in flux with the
government struggling to rein in heavily-armed former rebels,
militias and Islamist militants who fought in the uprising but often
challenge central authority.
One militia group, the Operations Room of Libya's Revolutionaries,
said on Friday its leader Shaban Hadia had been arrested in Egypt,
where he had been travelling with his family for medical treatment.
The group's commanders denied involvement in the kidnappings because
they operate nominally under the command of Libya's military chief
of staff. On Friday they initially warned Egypt of a "strong
response" if Hadia was not freed.
"What we have been warning the Egyptian authorities about since
yesterday is that this kind of response was to be expected because
of the security situation in the country," commander Adel
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The Operations Room, a group of Islamist-leaning former rebel
fighters hired by the government after Gaddafi's fall to provide
security in Tripoli, was accused of briefly abducting Prime Minister
Ali Zeidan last year.
Zeidan, a liberal, upset Libyan Islamists last year when he visited
Egyptian chief of staff General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after the
military deposed the country's Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi,
following protests against his rule.
A number of foreigners have been abducted and attacked in Libya in
recent weeks. Security forces in Tripoli earlier this week freed a
South Korean trade official held for days by kidnappers who
officials said were not politically motivated.
An American teacher was shot dead in Benghazi in December, and in
January, a British man and a New Zealand woman were killed on a
beach in western Libya.
(Reporting by Ghaith Shennib; writing by Patrick Markey;
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