Mon, Jan 14, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Italian Benghazi consul unhurt after gun attack on car

Reuters, BENGHAZI, Libya

An Italian consul came under fire in his car in Benghazi on Saturday, months after the US ambassador was killed in an attack on the US mission in the city.

A spokesman for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the attack on Guido De Sanctis, Italy’s Benghazi consul, and said he was unhurt.

A security source in Libya, who declined to be named, told reporters: “They shot at his car, but the car was armored. He is fine, there are no injuries.”

There was no immediate indication who might have been behind the attack.

Security for Westerners in Libya’s second city was an acute concern even before the attack on the US consulate, in which four staff were killed in September last year on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the US.

US officials say militants with ties to al-Qaeda affiliates were most likely involved in that attack. Benghazi, like much of Libya, is awash with weapons and the city has also seen recent attacks on British, Red Cross and UN interests.

A police source in Benghazi said the shots had been fired from a car passing De Sanctis’ residence. A foreign reporter saw two bullet holes in the building, which was surrounded by police.

The city was where the uprising against former Libyan president Muamar Qaddafi broke out in February 2011. However, Libya’s new elected rulers in Tripoli have struggled to impose their authority on a country where armed militias wield the real power and Benghazi’s multitude of armed factions now make it a hot spot for violence.

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