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Middle East
UK diplomat's convoy attacked in Libya
British embassy vehicles reportedly hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, which left two officers injured in Benghazi.
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2012 22:10
Two security guards were injured in Monday's attack on the convoy, which was carrying the UK ambassador [AFP]

Britain's ambassador to Libya was in a convoy of cars attacked in the eastern city of Benghazi, a British embassy spokeswoman has said.

The convoy was hit about 300m from the British consulate office in the city's al-Rabha neighbourhood on Monday.

"A convoy carrying the British ambassador to Libya was involved in a serious incident in Benghazi this afternoon," the spokeswoman said.

"Two close protection officers were injured in the attack but all other staff are safe and uninjured."

She said the injured officers were receiving medical treatment.

The diplomatic convoy was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, local security officials said earlier on Monday.

The embassy spokeswoman earlier said that all staff were accounted for following the attack. "We are liaising closely with the Libyan authorities," she said.

Leaflets found

Unis Sharif, Libya's deputy interior minister, said the vehicle was carrying security personnel in a convoy for the head of the British diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

Al Jazeera's Omar al-Saleh, reporting from Tripoli, said that security sources in Benghazi had confirmed the attack, saying it had occurred shortly after the convoy left a restaurant not far from the British consulate.

 

"Police at the scene said they have found leaflets from a group that calls itself the Brigades of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman," he said.

Abdel-Rahman is an Egyptian national who is currently serving a life sentence in the US.

A Reuters news agency reporter at the scene in Benghazi said police had cordoned off the area. A damaged but still intact car windscreen could be seen lying on the ground.

Security experts blamed an armed group for allegedly attacking the convoy with a rocket-propelled grenade.

According to the experts, the area around Benghazi is home to a number of groups who oppose any Western presence in Muslim countries.

Five days ago, an explosive device was dropped from a passing car outside the offices of the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi. The blast that followed slightly damaged the gate in front of the building.

On May 22, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the city, blasting a small hole in the building but causing no casualties.

Benghazi was the cradle of the uprising last year, which ended Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule. Since then, it has become a hot-spot for violence. Arms remain readily available and state security forces are struggling to assert their authority.

The violence comes as Libya prepares to elect a general national congress, with the vote set for July 7.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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