Russia Says Its Embassy In Libya Was Attacked

Russia says embassy staff in Libya evacuated after attack

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Ekho Moskvy radio the attackers fired at the embassy in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and tried to break into its grounds. She said that according to preliminary information no one among the embassy personnel was wounded. An attack last year in the city of Benghazi killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya last year. Meanwhile Libyan security officials say gunmen have shot dead a naval officer and his 7-year-old son in the eastern city of Benghazi. The officials said the gunmen fired Wednesday on the vehicle of Col. Saleh el-Hudeiry of the coast guards, killing him on the spot. The son was wounded and later died. Libya has been hit by a months-long wave of targeted killings against activists, judges and security agents. On Tuesday, an air force pilot was shot dead in the capital Tripoli. Most killings are presumed to be the work of armed factions, but authorities later apprehended a Russian woman whom they said had killed the pilot and written offensive graffiti in his blood. Her alleged motives were not clear. Officials spoke anonymously because they weren’t authorized to brief the media. 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The statement said that staff and their families had taken refuge in safe rooms during the attack. They were evacuated to Tunisia on Thursday and expected to return to Russia on Friday. The attack demonstrated the volatility in oil-producing Libya two years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, and the problems faced by his former ally Russia as it tries to put billions of dollars’ worth of energy and arms deals back on track. The Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin were keen to play down political angles of the attack, citing the murder as the cause. The Russian woman, who also wounded the officer’s mother, had been arrested, the statement said. Diplomatic sources in Libya said security guards fired shots to disperse a group of about 60 people who tried to storm the embassy on Wednesday. Russian agencies said the gunmen arrived in two vehicles before opening fire. The statement sought to underline cooperation by the two countries to reestablish Russia’s full diplomatic presence in Libya and reduce any long-term impact. CLAN DIVISIONS Clan and tribal rivalries, as well as Islamist groups, have flourished in the absence of strong central government in Libya. Security services have struggled to maintain order. Militant groups have staged a number of attacks on Western diplomats. Militants linked to al Qaeda affiliates attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on September 11, 2012.

Russia evacuates embassy staff from Libya

The Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin were keen to play down political angles of the attack, citing the murder as the cause. The Russian woman, who also wounded the officers mother, had been arrested, the statement said. Diplomatic sources in Libya said security guards fired shots to disperse a group of about 60 people who tried to storm the embassy on Wednesday. Russian agencies said the gunmen arrived in two vehicles before opening fire. The statement sought to underline cooperation by the two countries to reestablish Russias full diplomatic presence in Libya and reduce any long-term impact. CLAN DIVISIONS Clan and tribal rivalries, as well as Islamist groups, have flourished in the absence of strong central government in Libya. Security services have struggled to maintain order. Militant groups have staged a number of attacks on Western diplomats. Militants linked to Al Qaida affiliates attacked the US consulate in Benghazi and killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012. When Gaddafi was in charge, ties [between Libya and Russia] were good. He was buying our weapons and there was talk of a railroad being built, said Moscow-based analyst Georgy Mirsky. Asked about the attack, he said: This kind of thing happens all the time, there is no reason to exaggerate it. Russia says it lost billions of dollars in arms deals after the fall of Gaddafi, who was captured and killed in October 2011 after months of civil war. The violence prompted Russian companies, which had pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into Libyas oil and natural gas sectors, to put their investments on hold. The attack on the embassy occurred as a Russian delegation was planning to visit Libya to try to put commercial relations back on track, the head of a business council said.