12 January 2014

Libyan Deputy Industry Minister 'Shot Dead' in Sirte

The Libyan Deputy Industry Minister Hassan al-Drouhi is reported to have been shot dead on a visit to his home town of Sirte. The town has become a bastion of a group associated with al Qaeda.

Deputy Minister al-Droui was reported to have been shot dead during a visit to Sirte, east of Tripoli, security and hospital sources said Sunday.

"Hassan al-Droui, the deputy minister for industry, was killed by unknown attackers overnight, during a visit to his native city of Sirte," a security official told the AFP news agency. "Unidentified gunmen sprayed bullets on Mr Droui in central Sirte," the official said,

The news was confirmed by hospital sources, and also reported in the Libya Herald newspaper.

Libya has been has been held increasingly under the sway of powerful militias in the past two years. Initially, those groups were formed from the rebel brigades that helped topple former leader Moammar Gadhafi in the country's 2011 civil war.

Home turf for jihadists

Sirte, the hometown of Gadhafi, has become a stronghold for the jihadist group Ansar al-Shari, which has been linked to al Qaeda .

However, a motive for the shooting appeared to be unclear. The country has also seen as significant rise in crime over the past two years.

For the first time on Friday, Washington placed two cells of Ansar al-Shari on a blacklist, claiming that the group had been responsible for an attack on a US consulate in the city of Benghazi.

Earlier in the day, in the south of the country, fighting resulted in as many as 19 deaths and some 45 serious injuries. The clashes between the al Tabw and Awlad Soliman tribes were sparked by the killing of a militia chief linked to Awlad Soliman.

rc /tj (AFP, dpa, LUSA)

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